In Brief: How A Central Health Database Helped Israel Combat Covid-19

by Bhaswati Guha Majumder - May 24, 2021 02:07 PM +05:30 IST
In Brief: How A Central Health Database Helped Israel Combat Covid-19 Hospital in Israel (Facebook)
Snapshot
  • The country’s health database dates back three decades.

Covid-19 emerged in China and soon hit the whole world without making any discrimination between race, creed and jurisdiction.

Israel was one of those countries which suffered the most during this pandemic.

But now it is the most vaccinated nation in the world, after the small East African island nation of Seychelles.

However, unlike Seychelles where a recent surge in Covid-19 cases has triggered a concern around the globe, Israel noticed a successful drop in infection rates and the cases have gone down since early April.

The Health Ministry of Israel said last month: "In light of the morbidity figures that continue to be low throughout the country ... Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Hezi Levy, amended the Public Health Order so that there is no obligation to wear a mask in an open area, starting tomorrow, April 18.”

The secret behind Israel’s success was the use of cutting-edge technologies that helped the nation to fight against Covid-19.

Healthcare And Israel

Israel’s computerised health records system allowed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to plan much in advance and secure enough Covid-19 vaccines developed by the American company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, to inoculate over 5.4 million eligible Israelis.

In January 2021, when the deal was struck, Netanyahu said: “Israel will be a global model state…[it] will share with Pfizer and with the entire world the statistical data that will help develop strategies for defeating the coronavirus.”

The country’s health database dates back three decades and the four health funds or Kupot Holim work with computerised records that feed data securely, without disclosing private details to the Israel Health Ministry.

This system was used by the ministry to track the vaccine campaign’s progress.

It was also used to identify side effects reported by those who receive the vaccine doses.

As per The Jerusalem Post, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, said that Netanyahu spoke about how he could “turn Israel’s medical database into a huge asset for the country moving forward”.

“We are a cyber power; people get that. We are becoming a power in artificial intelligence,” he noted.

Dermer also explained that when it comes to turning Israel's health database it into a beta site for a lot of potential discoveries, as well as vaccines and innovations in the medical field, Israel "is really going to take off there”.

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