United Nations Public Service Award Winners








Initiative: TraceTogether National Contact Tracing Programme 


Institution: Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech)


Problem: Human-led manual contact tracing has been a keystone of pandemic control. However, manual contact tracing capacity was overwhelmed by the fast spread of the COVID-19. Although contact tracing has proved critical in mitigating the transmission of infectious illnesses, the process has remained mostly unchanged for years.


Solution: In response to COVID-19, the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), provided the TraceTogher app to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for a digital contact tracing. It was the first Bluetooth® contact-tracing system deployed on a national scale. The TraceTogether app uses Bluetooth® signals to anonymously record user contacts, rapidly identifies users who have had close touch with a COVID-19 case and creates relationships across clusters. TraceTogether works with unacquainted contacts who are also part of the TraceTogether program, rather than relying on the users’ recollection. The team employed Agile methods such as Human Centered Design (HCD) and shadowing contact tracers. TraceTogether is an ongoing project that takes advantage of the iterative process, collects user feedback for continuous improvement, addresses previous restrictions, and improves user experiences. A physical tracing device called TraceTogether Token was also distributed to enable a more inclusive approach, including less tech-savvy demographics such as seniors, or those with financial constraints or no access to smartphones that support the app.


Impact: The widespread use of mobile devices and digital technology gives a chance to revolutionize contact tracing. As of September 2021, the TraceTogether app and token have a combined coverage of around 99 percent of the population which is more than 5.6 million users. Many governments regard effective contact tracing as a critical tool for preventing or avoiding massive lockdowns. Over 60 countries or cities have expressed interest in adopting a comparable solution or learning from the team since TraceTogether’s introduction and to implement the open-source version of TraceTogether. The widespread use of TraceTogether has helped to alleviate concerns about contact tracing’s scalability in Singapore. In the early months of the epidemic, manual contact tracing took an average of four days. This is now completed in under 1.5 days using TraceTogether in conjunction with other data sources and contact tracing solutions.



Special Category:

Institutional resilience and innovative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic


Related SDGs: 










Asia and the Pacific Group


More information: 

TraceTogether National Contact Tracing Programme
Website: https://www.tracetogether.gov.sg/

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