Singapore
Global Centre for Technology, Innovation
and Sustainable Development

A digital toolkit for COVID-19

COVID-19 presents a major, potentially catastrophic, challenge for developing countries. In the context of fragile health-systems, its impact could be devastating. However, the existing, strong or growing, digital foundations in many of these countries could be a valuable asset in fighting the pandemic.

As highlighted by the approach of countries such as Singapore, digital tools and technologies can play a crucial role in tackling COVID-19. Inspired by this approach, the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development is working to collate open-source tools that can be used in response to COVID-19. These tools are split into three areas:

  • Disease monitoring: identifying the spread of COVID-19 in a society. For example, a COVID-19 digital data package to accelerate case detection, situation reporting, active surveillance and response.
  • Prevention and containment: preventing the spread of the disease, and supporting efforts to minimise further spread. This includes a digital-ready version of the COVID-19 Minimum Reporting Form (founded on the WHO COVID-19 protocol) to commence contact-tracing.
  • Diagnosis: helping citizens and governments confirm whether individuals are infected or not. For example, a reporting and information app (and web-tool), allowing citizens to keep up-to-date, report symptoms and connect with public services.
You can view the growing repository of tools HERE. These tools are not designed to be immediately transferable, but instead aim to accelerate the digital response time of countries - a critical initiative in today’s context of stretched resources and a time of crisis.
 
Covid-19 Digital - UNDP GLobal Centre

 

We are focusing on open-source tools to assist countries in building their own solutions, by allowing governments and others to build on what is working elsewhere instead of starting from scratch. Open source solutions are not perfect but can be important assets.

We are looking to add more tools to this repository every day, so please submit any resources (or suggestions) by writing to us at registry.sg@undp.org.

Although these are unprecedented times and digital can play an important role, we need to ensure that we still adhere to best practices. This includes ensuring that the Principles for Digital Development and Personal Data Protection and Privacy are at the heart of our work. In this time of crisis, the privacy, safety, and security of citizens must be a central consideration. We need to respond quickly to COVID-19, but it should not be at the expense of the rights of citizens.

Although not a panacea, digital tools have the potential to play an important role in tackling COVID-19. We are not endorsing the tools in this repository, but highlight them in order to support governments in their life-saving efforts to monitor, prevent and contain, and diagnose the disease.

Want to start a conversation?

If you have enquiries, comments and feedback on our focus areas or would like to partner with the Global Centre please get in touch.