Generally, the reactions by African countries to Covid-19 was impressive and decisive. For instance, on February 5 the continent had already formed a task force before the continent experienced her first case.
Of all regions around the globe, Africa is the least impacted landmass. With over a million recorded cases, this is only 5% of the total global count and less than 1 percent of deaths. These statistics are encouraging the reopening of movement across the borders so as to promote economic activity.
Never before has the continent expressed interest to adopt unified pan African technologies that counter the spread and connect testing centers across the continent. This has resulted in PanaBIOS, an AU backed bio-surveillance technology.
Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union are promoting technologies that could help boost member states in their pursuit of safe coordinated reopening.
PanaBIOS will spare travelers from taking multiple tests provided they are traveling to countries already signed up to PanaBIOS app. The web-based application uses relies on algorithms to track and trace people facing potential health threats while tracking and keeping tabs of test samples from countries of origin to the in-country labs.
The technology behind PanaBIOS was developed by Kenyan startup Koldchain and funded by AfroChampions through a much-touted public-private partnership.
So far Ghana is the only country in Africa using the technology ensuring travelers can test their results across countries while satisfying all port clearance requirements. Port officials can use PanaBIOS to validate health declaration submissions.
Critics point that this new technology that gives government sweeping authority in surveillance could threaten civil liberties. This will also require changes in legislation as presently 27 of the 54 countries already have some form of data protection law in operation.