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Ghana Uses Fintech Solution to Track the Coronavirus

Africa has more than 30,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization. And while these numbers are relatively small compared to the rest of the world, the continent is not taking any chances in its fight against the virus. In Ghana, a software engineering company, Cognate Systems, is using technology to track coronavirus symptoms and hotspots in the West African country. Using a platform called Opine Health Assistant, the company is able to record and track the frequency of coronavirus symptoms like a cough and high temperature in different parts of the country. The Opine Health Assistant platform, launched March 26, collects information from residents about their possible coronavirus symptoms and location through a USSD short code, says Kwabena Nuamah, co-founder of Cognate Systems. USSD is a short code used mostly by mobile telecommunications networks and mobile money service providers like banks for transactions. When you dial a number that starts with * and ends with # to top up your phone credit or make a bank transfer, you are using USSD. Dialing the USSD code allows residents to fill a form with questions about their symptoms, who they have been in contact with, age-range, and travel history. It also asks if they need essential supplies such as food and shelter in the wake of the pandemic.