The University of Balamand has launched "HAYATI” a mobile application designed and developed by Engineer Patrick Daou, Dr Amal Iaaly, and Professor Rami Abboud at the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center at the Faculty of Engineering, in consultaion with a medical team led by Dr Youssef Bassim, to help contain the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Lebanon. HAYATI collects information from users about any symptoms they experience and helps direct suspected cases for follow-up with specialists. The application also collects necessary information that supports the national efforts to cope with the epidemic and its repercussions. In terms of epidemiological surveillance, HAYATI contributes to identifying high-risk regions. The App will also collect economic data that can help direct donations and aid to the neediest groups. This information is integrated into a dashboard in real-time and used to produce smart maps that help those involved in following up on the situation at the national level and any developments.
The University is currently working to develop several solutions and applications that adopt GIS systems to contribute to national efforts to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Vice President for Internationlization and Engagement and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Rami Abboud, stressed that the University is committed to do its part at this challenging time that Lebanon and the world are facing. Professor Abboud concluded: "Universities, as Higher Education Institutions, play a vital role in developing and fortifying local communities through the high quality teaching and research that we invest in our students, which in turn plays an important role by contributing to the service of citizens, especially in times of national crises. Hence, as a university, we seek to create innovative solutions that put our expertise at the service of our students, society and country. In this context I would like to pay tribute to our engineering graduate, Fouad Nassar, and current engineering student, George Ghlaiel for their great help and support. My motto is “from laboratory to society” and this is a prime example”.
This effort along with many other initiatives falls within the framework of directives of the University of Balamand President, Dr. Elias Warrak, who heads the UOB COVID-19 Crisis Management Team that the university has formed to tackle different aspects of the Corona crisis and its repercussions on the university, society and the country. In turn, President Warrak stressed that multiple initiatives undertaken at this difficult time stem from the university's commitment to its social and national responsibility. He also indicated that the university is in the process of cooperating with various official entities in the context of national efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. He concluded: "We look forward to playing a pivotal role as a part of the national efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and we are open to any cooperation in this respect."