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Partnering with India to Fight COVID-19 through Applying Digital Technology

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To fight the COVID-19 pandemic in India, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) is cooperating with Terre des hommes Foundation (Tdh) to implement the Digital Health Innovation for COVID-19 Response in India project. This project will help healthcare workers from 80 Primary Health Care(PHC) facilities in the Ranchi district, the capital city of Jharkhand State, apply digital technology to deliver quality healthcare services and comply with infection prevention and control standards.

India currently has the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, amounting to over six million cases as of September 28, 2020. Although India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has trained their healthcare workers in all government hospitals on triaging patients, conducting physical examinations of people with respiratory symptoms, and ensuring proper use of personal protective equipment, most healthcare workers still lack sufficient support and capacity to respond to the pandemic. As the healthcare system in Jharkhand state is already vulnerable and recently large numbers of jobless migrant workers originally from Jharkhand returned home due to COVID-19, the local healthcare system is facing a greater burden. Therefore, the Indian Government has requested INGOs and donors to allocate their resources to Jharkhand.

During the project implementation, the TaiwanICDF and Tdh will work closely together with local health authorities of Jharkhand state; 80 targeted PHC facilities; Doctors For You, a local NGO; and Dimagi, a US social enterprise. The healthcare workers from the 80 PHC facilities are expected to benefit from utilizing the training and monitoring tool for COVID-19 response, the chatbot application, and a digitized screening and triage tool for registration and management of suspected COVID-19 cases. Thus, healthcare workers’ capacity in managing COVID-19 will be further enhanced. The number of direct and indirect beneficiaries to this project, including the healthcare workers and the general public, is expected to reach around 400,000 people. In addition, the TaiwanICDF will also engage its senior IT expert in the optimization process of the aforementioned apps. Furthermore, the TaiwanICDF will invite Taiwan’s pandemic experts to jointly review the application content regarding COVID-19 prevention and control, and will also arrange a virtual conference as needed so that Taiwan’s and India’s medical personnel will be able to exchange their experiences on combating COVID-19. With these joint efforts, the TaiwanICDF looks forward to further strengthening relations and working together to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.