• Right direction

    Right direction

    A mobile application developed in Ghana is being used to improve emergency responses to critically ill COVID-19 patients.

    The SnooCODE Red app is able to lower ambulance response times by up to 56% by providing accurate location data without requiring an internet connection. According to Engineering News, the app can also be used to ensure that people located in informal areas receive vaccinations.

    The system was designed by Ghanaian engineer Sesinam Dagadu in 2011 to improve ambulance and food delivery services in Ghana, which – according to him – has very low efficiency rates. The app has been successfully tested in Accra, and is currently being used by ambulance services in Namibia and Cameroon.

    Through GPS, the app’s software generates an easily remembered alphanumeric code to locations, allowing ambulances to navigate using the code instead of landmarks. Dagadu says using landmarks such as trees, churches, banks or kiosks to direct people is problematic, as they often change or are moved. Via the app, the ambulance can also find the nearest suitable healthcare facility.

    The six-digit codes, named SnooCODEs, are accurate to within 25 cm. A location’s code remains constant, meaning people with even basic literacy or who do not have a smartphone can relay directions by simply remembering the code.

    22 June 2021
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images