The government will keep the Covid database in operation permanently, with plans to expand it

Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the government aims to keep the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) operational long-term in South Africa and use it as a potential stepping stone to launch a portable medical record system.

Speaking at a Naspers summit on Wednesday (March 23), Ntshavheni said his department was working alongside the Department of Health and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on how to expand the EVDS, which was introduced to manage the pandemic. of Covid-19, to become the basic system for other public health administrations.

“On the back of these, we will begin digitizing public health records to make them portable,” he said. “Portable medical records will help with effective healthcare as patients will be able to grant access to their healthcare provider regardless of whether they are being cared for in the private or public sector.”

The government launched the EVDS system in 2021 as part of the launch of the Covid-19 vaccine. South Africans are required to enroll in the electronic system to receive proof of vaccination and a vaccine certificate. These certificates are now required to access certain gatherings and events.

Ntshavheni said there are also long-term plans to digitize front-facing government services which should result in at least 50% of government services being rendered fully online. “This will require a community / society that includes the poor and rural areas to have basic digital skills to access government services,” she said.

The minister said South Africa also wants to rapidly expand the rollout of 5G in the coming years.

“We will soon finalize plans together with the Department of Human Settlements to ensure that planned and new settlements have broadband connectivity as part of primary service networks. Additionally, these 5G networks and technologies must span at least 3 vertical sectors in the same. period, “he said.

Reading: New Covid rules for workplaces in South Africa and what it means for vaccine mandates