To help implement a contact tracing programme for COVID-19 in Ukraine, WHO has been providing support, equipment and staff training to the state-run Chernivtsi Oblast Center for Disease Control and Prevention (OCDC) of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and Odessa OCDC, in a pilot project that could soon be rolled out to other areas of the country.
The WHO Country Office in Ukraine, in the scope of the European Union DG NEAR project, provided funding for 2 computers and 90 mobile phones for Chernivtsi OCDC and 2 computers and 65 mobile phones for Odessa OCDC, which are set up with Go.data software developed by the WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) – an app now used in over 35 countries for managing epidemiological data and facilitating faster and more accurate outbreak investigations during public health emergencies.
Training was also provided to 99 employees of Chernivtsi OCDC and 102 employees of Odessa OCDC in the basics of contact tracing, use of the Go.Data app, and ways to collect and analyse data.
Nataliia Bugaienko, an epidemiologist at the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, commented on the role that contact tracing has as part of the COVID-19 response. “Contact tracing is an important and leading strategy for interrupting the chains of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, reducing the incidence and mortality associated with COVID-19, together with testing, self-isolation and caring for COVID-19 patients. Using Go.Data software for the purpose of contact tracing significantly helps the work of contact tracing teams and enables them to analyse and visualise the data easily.”
The results of the pilot will be reviewed jointly by the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health for Ukraine and WHO to decide on how to best scale up this approach in other regions of Ukraine, ensure a high level of epidemiological surveillance and case investigation, improve rapid responses to COVID-19, and ultimately to interrupt community transmission of the virus in the country.