With a new mobile app called RC143, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) turns smartphones into devices that help health authorities in contact tracing of COVID-19 cases.
The RC143 is an application that will enable contact tracing using the geo-location and sensory capabilities of smartphones. The app will also enable its users to get information on their likely levels of exposure to the virus.
"The app will be a great force-multiplier for the Philippine Red Cross's first responders in our active monitoring and efforts to assist affected persons and many more people and communities at risk," said Philippine Red Cross secretary general Elizabeth Zavalla.
With the user's consent, the PRC app will track movements using the location facility of their mobile phone. This information will go to a data base through which the PRC will be able to determine which individuals have come into contact with COVID-positive cases.
"We have high hopes for RC143, in the hands of many Filipinos, not only to contain the spread of the virus but to actually safeguard us in our certain but slow and cautious return to normal social and economic activity," said Zavalla.
100K free text messages
Local mobile operator Smart is enabling its subscribers to download and use the mobile app free of data charges. Furthermore, an SMS broadcasting service has also been provided to the Philippine Red Cross by Soprano Design to strengthen their messaging capabilities and information dissemination programs.
"Data is an important weapon in the fight against COVID-19. RC143 can gather information that will help individuals protect themselves and also help health authorities take more effective action to control and defeat this pandemic. This is why we at PLDT and Smart are supporting the Philippine Red Cross in this initiative," said Alfredo S. Panlilio, president and CEO of Smart Communications and chief revenue officer of PLDT.
The Smart Messaging Suite, powered by Soprano, will provide Red Cross 100,000 free text messages per month to strengthen their messaging capabilities to their constituents and other organizations to augment their communications efforts.
Part of the “bayanihan" efforts
The service delivered by the contact tracing app is another addition to the collective "bayanihan" efforts of the PLDT group and the MVP Group of companies in assisting government agencies and non-governmental organisations in their efforts to control the spread of the virus and assist the general public amid the ECQ challenges.
Kirt Ugas, business development manager for the Philippines at Soprano Design, is pleased to provide enterprise messaging services to support PLDT and Smart in their Covid-19 response efforts.
“The current situation is unprecedented, and we applaud the incredible efforts of all frontline responders, who are going above and beyond to fight this pandemic,” he said.
With more than 100 million mobile phone subscribers, SMS is still used as the primary mobile service in The Philippines.
“We are aware of the role technology players like us play in the current situation, and hope our messaging services will help alleviate some of the pressures on their communications efforts,” Ugas said.