Connecting the dots: Kerala’s use of digital technology during the COVID-19 response

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Osama Ummer, Kerry Scott, Diwakar Mohan, Arpita Chakraborty, Amnesty Elizabeth LeFevre

Summary box

  • The COVID-19 pandemic’s unprecedented global spread and impact has accelerated interest in digital innovation.

  • Kerala’s experience showcases the diverse and innovative ways that digital tools can build on a strong underlying health system to support pandemic response across the domains of communication, surveillance, clinical management, non-clinical support and core health system readiness.

  • Digital tools in Kerala were able to proliferate rapidly and help meet diverse citizen needs due to high levels of collaboration and intersectoral response that brought together different levels of government and multiple state departments, engaged the private sector, and harnessed the energy of civil society organisations and community volunteers.

  • Digital technology has great potential to strengthen public health measures during pandemics, including to rapidly link citizens to food and mental health support.

  • Adequate oversight and community participation remains essential to safeguard citizen privacy and ensure equity.