South-africa: GovTech participants develop software to address social challenges

Participants at the Government Technology Conference in Durban have developed various software applications aimed at addressing social challenges in public administration.

State Information Technology Agency (SITA) HOD for Co-operate Planning, Stolkey Lebethoa says they have developed a Hackathon – an umbrella system aimed at incorporating various applications developed by the participants who include secondary school learners to academic scholars.

She says the conference will explore many technological loopholes thereby providing solutions.

The government technology conference in Durban has lived up to its promise to provide solutions facing government institutions through developing new software applications.

“This hackathon we are talking about is a very exciting high energy – innovative coding of software development marathon that
involves various stakeholders from grade 10 learners which are here in KZN most of them are coming from Umlazi – some around in KZN. We are here with about a group of eight, or seven groups from different schools, coding the software; we also got officials from all provinces, we also have academic studies – they are with us here developing software, they are doing this work non-stop, you should have seen yesterday some of them were sleeping on the floor,” says Lebethoa.

Now in its 12th year, SITA’s GovTech conference brings together government, state-owned entities, ICT sector stakeholders, the private business sector, SMEs, academic institutions and non-profit organisations.

Lebethoa says the future technology wizards have come up with solutions to the long queues especially in the public sector. She says they have identified health sector and developed an application where the regular patients will have their medications delivered to their door steps or find them ready for collection through the use of a developed application.

“So what are these people doing – they went to education, health sector, the justice sector- so they went around and looked at the key problems facing South Africa right now… some of them are looking in the health sector to say how do we go about reducing the queues within the health sector, to ensure that people are going not going and queuing within the health sector to get their
medication? They don’t have to queue for so long – we can go by means of sending a code or something and go there get your medication stored there for you, so they are doing these crazy Hackathon solutions. We do not give them any ideas as they themselves are recipients of the public service delivery they came up with solutions,” concluded Lebethoa.

Participant Ernest Mapula says they have developed an application that will help emergency services personnel to replace the
manual form through the thumb print application which will show the profile of the patient at accident scenes. He says the application also helps minimise time spent writing notes and asking questions from patients at the scene.

“We have developed ER systems which will actually help the paramedics in their process of attending to an emergency urgently what is happening with our emergency teams when they attend a scene – they are actually relying on a manual form about what happened to a patient. So you find that process as time consuming which might delay a process of attending to a patient or is getting a patient being delivered to hospital – our application is aimed at minimising time,” says Mapula.

The three day conference is aimed at developing new software applications that will address challenges faced by communities, especially when they go to a public service institution such as hospitals and police.

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