Faculty of Health Science’s alumni Dr Jarred van Zuydam has helped create and develop a web-enabled app which allows South Africans to track their symptoms of COVID-19 through a simplified automated self-monitoring process. Dr van Zuydam created and developed the CoronaFighter platform with Dr Rick Diesel from InsightFit, and teams at Sigma Digital and Lead Robot.
Dr van Zuydam is a co-founder of the company and his role has been to oversee the medical component of the solution, write and edit the questionnaires, support the sales team and help with new feature conception and design. “We had originally started to build a web app in the sports medicine field but when the COVID crisis hit we realised that we needed to pivot in order to try and address problems presented by the pandemic,” said Dr van Zuydam.
The CoronaFighter platform is an enterprise solution for a safe return to work and helps large organisations who need to get their businesses restarted while staying compliant with COVID-19 government regulations. Company employees interact with a WhatsApp chatbot daily to report any unusual symptoms. Those not showing any symptoms are assigned a QR code which grants them access at their work premises for a 24 hour period while those who are symptomatic are guided through a medical consultation and/or COVID testing process. The system includes an advanced management dashboard allowing employers to view live usage and symptom stats as well as download reports for compliance purposes.
A Sports Physician by trade Dr van Zuydam studied a post-graduate degree in Sports Medicine at the University of Pretoria and graduated in 2015. Studying was challenging as he was working full time in Johannesburg but he still managed to pass his masters in Sports Medicine with distinction. “We had a small class so we were able to form a personal relationship with faculty staff who were always supportive and helpful” shared Dr van Zuydam. Dr Zuydam is passionate about the medical aspects of cycling and has worked as a team physician with the UAE Team Emirates Pro Cycling team. He has also worked as a team doctor at the Tour de France and other international races on several occasions this is in addition to running his private practise that helps athletes with sports medicine-related matters.
His advice to young people about finding innovative solutions to society’s challenges is to find a problem and then think about ways to solve the problem. “Identifying a real-world problem is more important than a fancy idea. It is always tempting to build an app or a piece of technology but if that technology is not solving a real problem then it is sure to fail or fade into obscurity. Once you have identified a problem and have a good idea, get building. Just start!” added Dr van Zuydam.
The app can be accessed on www.testforcovid.co.za.