Johannesburg, Apr 16 (PTI) South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize on Friday officially launched the country’s electronic vaccination data system, which will start with a campaign for all citizens aged 60 years and above to register for vaccination.
The minister commended the business sector for collaborating with the government in the project.
“This launch marks a significant milestone not only for our (COVID-19) vaccination campaign but for South Africa’s advancement towards Universal Health Coverage,” Mkhize said.
“The realisation of this system would not have been possible without the collaboration of the private sector and business at large. This outcome shows that indeed our society is maturing in the right direction, a direction towards health systems strengthening as a unified force,” he said.
The data from the system will be used to allocate the vaccines to the vaccine service points, ensuring that enough vaccines are available on a particular vaccination day.
“I want to reassure South Africans that we do have a plan to ensure that everyone is registered and we want as many people as possible to be registered before going to be vaccinated (as) this will save a lot of time and will also help us to allocate vaccinations to respective areas appropriately,” Mkhize said.
He also shared plans to reach people who were not tech-savvy or lived in remote rural areas without connectivity.
“We do understand that not everyone in this country has a smart phone or has access to the internet. For this reason, we will be using the smartphones and petrol that has been donated to us by various companies and philanthropic organisations to send out teams to help our vulnerable citizens who do not have access to digital technology.
This includes the elderly, the homeless and those who live in deep rural areas that are difficult to reach,” Mkhize said.
The minister said lessons learnt from a successful community screening and testing campaign at the beginning of the pandemic last year would be used in this programme.
“Our team members will also be trained to be able to educate and raise awareness on vaccination in the community,” he said as he appealed to those who are computer literate and have mobile facilities to assist senior citizens to register.
Mkhize said the start of vaccine registrations for other citizens would be made in due course as the government continues its phased vaccination programme. PTI FH CPS