PH still has no unified contact tracing system nationwide
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers have urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to establish a single nationwide contact tracing system to improve the monitoring of COVID-19 cases.
During a joint hearing on Tuesday, members of the House committees on health and information and communications technology learned that more than a year since the country reported its first COVID-19 case, there was still no unified national contact tracing system.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said he had not been consulted by developers of different contact tracing applications used to track down close contacts of COVID-19 cases, and this was causing “confusion.”
He added that while local governments’ preference for other contact tracing apps was fine with him, these still needed to be integrated into the StaySafe.PH app, which had been recommended by the national government.
“What we envision is a single contact tracing app, but these companies are trying to outdo each other,” Magalong said.
But lawmakers learned that StaySafe.PH had not been fully donated to the government despite a resolution issued by the IATF in June 2020.
Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the Department of Health’s (DOH) knowledge management and information technology service, said the DOH had yet to finalize the donation due to a lack of a certification from the Department of Information and Communications Technology that StaySafe.PH was secure and technically feasible.
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