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Dubai teens' platform makes Covid-19 contact tracing easy

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on October 26, 2020
Suppplied photo

(Nida Sohail)

The platform sends an email or a text to those who may have been in contact and need to get tested, anonymously.

The hesitation to inform other when one is Covid-positive has found a smart solution, thanks to Wasama, the brainchild of two Dubai teenagers.

Wasama — stigma in Arabic — web platform allows users to upload the proof of their Covid-19 test and a list of people they have been in contact with, once the test result is manually verified. The platform sends an email or a text to those who may have been in contact and need to get tested, anonymously.

Founders of the project say the idea sprung when they found themselves in a tough spot after their best friends tested positive for the virus. “I realised that my best friend was comfortable talking about it within a closed group. Beyond that, he wasn’t comfortable possibly because of the stigma associated with it. I and Deepak, who simultaneously developed the platform with me, realised is that a Covid-19 positive patient may have come in contact with several people who need to get themselves tested,” said 17-year-old Quddus Pativada, student at the Repton School Dubai and a self-taught coder since the age of eight.

Wasama breaks into the anxiety that prevent people from informing others, which increase the propagation of the virus, he added.

“We got an overwhelming response after launching a social media campaign on Instagram. We witnessed 302 shares within the first hour. I shared this platform with one of my friends in the US who in turn introduced it to his university friends. The response there was also quite impressive. It turned out be a feasible concept and I hope more people fancy the idea. We are now looking at a sustainable long-term traction that can go international,” said Quddus.

Deepak Tahiliani, co-founder of Wasama, underlines the driving force stems from the youth being equal participants in creating smart solutions alongside government initiatives.

“Contact tracing has been used for decades to successfully to control the spread of infectious diseases around the world. This platform can play a vital role in combating and preventing the disease,” said the 18-year-old student of Jumeirah College.

“We started working on this initiative for which Hale education has been a consistent supporter. Our Instagram account has been shared by verified influencers and several other big pages totalling a reach of over 500,000 on Instagram alone. We built ambassador programmes with teenagers from all over Dubai spreading Wasama’s message. To curb the spread of the virus, we need to stand united and contribute,” said Deepak.

nandini@khaleejtimes.com





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