Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

CoWIN as a repurposed digital platform

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CoWIN

Mains level : Paper 2- CoWIN platform

Context

Seeing its success, other nations have also expressed interest in availing CoWIN and using it as a bridge for erecting their digital health systems. Responding to this incoming interest, our prime minister has offered CoWIN as a digital public good, free of cost, for all nations globally to adopt.

About CoWIN

  • In late 2020, even before the Covid-19 vaccines had arrived, the Government of India had commenced preparations for launching the world’s largest vaccination drive.
  • This led to the beginning of the CoWIN journey in January 2021.
  • Scalability, modularity, and interoperability: CoWIN, or the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network, was developed in a record time, with consideration given to scalability, modularity, and interoperability.
  • The platform has been made available in English and 11 regional languages to allow citizens across multiple states to access the platform with ease.
  • To circumvent the lack of digital access, the platform allows for up to six members to be registered under one mobile-number linked account.
  • CoWIN has scaled every 100 million milestone faster than any other platform.
  • It reached the coveted one billion registered user mark which only a handful of platforms have been able to achieve globally, and none in such a short time.
  • A key feature of the platform has been its modularity and evolvability.
  • The CoWIN team has been adept at keeping pace with the changing policy environment and scientific research and developments in the administration of vaccines.
  • It was never that CoWIN became the bottleneck or delayed the implementation of our vaccination policies or drive.
  • Time and again, CoWIN has proved itself as one of the most secure and robust platforms with minimal data input and zero risk of personal data hacks. 

Major phases of CoWIN

  • The journey of CoWIN was staggered across three major phases, with multiple additions subsequently.
  • In phase 1, the registration process went online where healthcare workers and frontline workers were sent system-generated notifications about their vaccination schedule.
  • In subsequent phases, beneficiaries were allowed both walk-in and online vaccination registration, along with the choice of location and time slot as per their convenience.
  • An assisted mode was also made available through the 240,000+ Common Service Centres (CSCs) and a helpline number.
  • After ensuring successful orchestration using scalability and agile features of the platform to vaccinate individuals over 45 years of age, the APIs of the platform were made available to private players at the beginning of Phase III of the vaccination drive.
  • Once access to its services was opened through APIs, more than 100 applications integrated with CoWIN for providing search, booking and certification facilities to their users.

Way ahead

  • The inevitable question is what will we do with CoWIN when no further Covid-19 vaccines are to be administered?
  • Repurpose the platform: The decision is to repurpose the platform as a universal immunisation platform.
  • The credentialing service of DIVOC, used in CoWIN, has proven to be a game-changer in the world of digital certificates.
  • CoWIN service is being implemented in five other countries after India and receiving global acceptance for its veracity and sound architecture.
  • There is a proposal for opening the credentialing service for more use cases in health.

Conclusion

The story of CoWIN has truly been one of national impact and importance. And while the story started during the pandemic, it won’t end with the pandemic: it will segue into a repurposed digital platform for more health use-cases.

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