A plethora of epidemiological terms have become commonly used during this health crisis. Terms such as “mass testing”, “social distancing”, and “new normal” have now become common household jargons. As the national government and local government find ways out of the enhanced community quarantine, “contact tracing” has also become part of daily conversations.

When applied systematically, contact tracing breaks the transmission chains of an infectious disease and is thus an important public health response for managing the outbreaks of infectious diseases. Contact tracing is a system for detecting and isolating cases, and identifying close contacts for quarantine. It helps by tracking the network of possible infections as well as the locations, incidents or other ways that may have amplified the transmission.

Leading software solutions company, MultiSys Technologies Corporation (MultiSys) developed a pandemic mitigation system called StaySafe.ph. MultiSys developed the digital bayanihan platform to further aid the government in containing and mitigating the implications of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emergency Infectious Diseases in its Resolution No. 27 s. 2020 dated 22 April 2020, adopts StaySAfe.ph as the official social-distancing, health-conditioning-reporting, and contact-tracing system that will assist the government’s response to the COVID-19.

On 15 May 2020, through an online meeting organized by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA), MultiSys provided a briefing to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Offices on the features and functions of the StaySafe.ph application. The meeting was attended by over 65 participants from the PNVSCA, and NEDA Central and Regional Offices.

David Almirol Jr., MultiSys Chief Executive Officer and Founder, discussed how StaySafe.ph empowers the public in the fight against COVID-19 by allowing people to report their health condition and promote contact tracing for the government. Registrants are only asked for their nickname or alias, mobile number, age and gender (for analytics), location (if enabled), and COVID-19 signs and symptoms if any to protect their privacy.

The submitted reports will then be added to the administrator’s contact tracing and “heatmapping” dashboard, which will visually show the areas where COVID-19 cases rise or improve. The admin, whether from the public or private sector, will be notified of the reported ‘serious conditions’ and will be able to reach out to those who submitted them.

By consolidating all the information, StaySafe.ph allows the government, specifically on the local government level, to respond quickly to the health concerns of the people, at the same time make informed and timely decisions to keep Filipinos safe.

Out of more than one thousand five hundred (1,500) local government units in the country, only one hundred sixty-two (162) have signed up and have admin access on the application. To address the communication gap, Almirol is soliciting the help of the NEDA Central and Regional Offices in promoting the usage of StaySafe.ph on the regional and local level.

Undersecretary Adoracion M. Navarro, head of the Regional Development Group, has committed the full participation of the NROs through the Regional Development Council in promoting the StaySafe.ph platform. The NEDA Regional Directors have also expressed
heightened interest and requested the MultiSys to conduct scheduled in-depth briefings on each RDC.

Currently, more than eight hundred thousand (800,000) have registered on StaySafe.ph since its launch last 15 April. With the number expected to grow steadily, the system has been upgraded to host up to 200 million users. The system is also presently being migrated to the Department of the Information and Communication Technology as part of the Government’s progressive implementation of the pandemic mitigation system of StaySafe.ph.

Multisys is among the organizations that signed-up with the ‘Be A Volunteer’ initiative of the PNVSCA.

(Written by: Tricia Marie Ayala) The author is currently the Program Officer, Volunteerism for Development Communication and Advocacy Program, Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency.

(Visit PNVSCA website (www.pnvsca.gov.ph) and PNVSCA Facebook (facebook.com/PNVSCA) for other stories and information on volunteering in response to COVID-19).