GHANAIAN engineer Sesinam Dagadu (pictured) has developed a mobile application that cuts ambulance response times by as much as 56 percent and provides accurate location details without the need for internet access.
The custom-made addressing system is called SnooCODE RED.
According to founder Dagadu, finding one’s way around parts of Ghana and the cities, towns, and villages of developing countries is challenging since many streets aren’t named, houses aren’t numbered and local residents use landmarks such as trees, churches or banks to direct people.
‘That becomes a problem when an ambulance has been directed to “the blue kiosk at the corner”, but the kiosk has been moved,’ said Dagadu.
He added that ambulances will then have to make follow-up calls to find their patient, wasting valuable time.
According to the founder, the software divides regions by simple codes using numbers and letters to make it easy for anybody to communicate their location and have others just as easily navigate to them.
‘It generates a memorable six-digit alphanumeric location code using GPS to pinpoint an exact location, to an accuracy of 25cm (10 inches) for specialist applications. The six-digit code remains the same for each specific location, meaning those with basic literacy levels and those without access to smartphones can easily memorise it for an emergency.’
Ambulance drivers and other users can enter the code into the app and it will calculate the best route to reach that address.
As the country grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, the application can further assist health authorities to roll out vaccines to those in informal areas.
Furthermore, the app is being expanded to allow emergency responders to see a list of not just the closest health centres, but also the best-equipped hospitals to handle each emergency, said the developer.
This is being done with funding from the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana and in partnership with the Emergency Medicine Society of Ghana.
The application is already being used in Ghana, Cameroon and Namibia and is available in English, French and Portuguese. Plans are under way to translate it into Arabic.
Dagadu hopes that the innovation will help ambulance services meet the World Health Organization’s standard of an eight-minute reaction time to emergencies.
‘If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that health-care systems, especially in developing nations, must be improved,’ said Dagadu. ‘Our solution ensures people receive life-saving attention as soon as possible.’