EAC member states join CommonTrust Network on health data for global travel
16-04-2021 08:52:12 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 3563 | Tags:

The Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum has announced the global expansion of the CommonTrust Network to cover 32 countries spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas.

As countries seek to relax border restrictions, quarantines and lock-downs, they need a more reliable, trustworthy and efficient way to validate the health status of incoming travelers.

Even with low passenger volumes, airports around the world have been plagued with long lines as airline staff and border guards scrutinize easily forged paper-based test and vaccination certificates.

Health pass apps and QR codes can help, but only if the test results or vaccination records they contain are verifiable and come from trusted sources.

The CommonTrust Network enables governments and other destinations to trust the sources of the health data in a traveler’s health pass app or QR code.

The Network’s registry of data sources includes testing providers, vaccination providers and public health registries committed to empowering the individuals they serve with digital access to their health data using open, interoperable and verifiable standards for example following the  SMART Health Cards Framework  based on W3C Verifiable Credential and HL7 SMART on FHIR Standards.

Participating health organizations make test results or vaccination records available to their patients as tamper-resistant verifiable digital certificates containing the patient’s identity, health information and digital signature of the issuing health organization. Those digital certificates can be printed as a QR code on paper or a PDF, accessed through a web portal, or uploaded into an app of the individual’s choice.

The individual can then choose to share their certificate with a third party (a “verifier”) who can verify the authenticity of the certificate. In assessing the certificates, verifiers can check the CommonTrust Network registry for profile information on the issuing health organization.

“The East Africa Community benefits when we all come together to solve challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic that don’t recognize borders,” said Christophe Bazivamo, Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community. “The CommonTrust Network is integral to keeping our economies and lives moving forward in this challenging time.”

“Aruba was proud to be the first country to join the CommonTrust Network and accept CommonPass,” said Evelyn Wever-Croes, Prime Minister of Aruba. “Building out this international trust network for health data will accelerate the safer reopening of international borders and accelerate economic recovery for Aruba and in countries around the world.”

"As we welcome travelers to the State of Hawaii and continue restoring our economy, our highest priority is protecting the health of our residents and visitors," said David Y. Ige, Governor, State of Hawaii. "Our collaboration with The Commons Project Foundation is enhancing our Safe Travels Hawaii program and helping us take another step forward in achieving our public health goals while ensuring that travelers can continue to safely enjoy the magic of our State.”

“The shared mission of CommonTrust Network members is to empower individuals with digital access to their health information so they can use it to improve their health, inform their care, and demonstrate their health status when they travel, while protecting their data privacy,” said Paul Meyer, CEO of The Commons Project Foundation. “The CommonTrust Network enables governments and other destinations to trust the health data presented by incoming travelers so they can feel more confident as they seek to relax border restrictions, quarantines and lock-downs.”

“The emergent need for travel and health passes has highlighted the urgency to harmonize and align around reliable, open and global standards for sharing health information in a verifiable and privacy-preserving manner,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility at the World Economic Forum. “The expansion of the CommonTrust Network will further advance our goal to create a public utility that is accessible to any number of providers and solutions in the market for travel and beyond.”

“Access to data is key to empowering people and an essential element of managing healthcare,” said Sergio Carmona, Acting CEO & Chief Medical Officer of FIND. “We are pleased to be working with partners including the CommonTrust Network on digital health initiatives that will enable us to live with COVID-19 in safety until the pandemic is defeated, and help us fight against other major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations.”

"Key to protecting people’s health as we work towards the recovery of air travel and reconnecting the world will be the establishment of a globally harmonized method of sharing vaccination and testing data across borders,” said Luis Felipe de Oliveira, ACI World Director General. “The CommonTrust Network and CommonPass will help to do this by fostering an easily implemented, recognised, and interoperable approach, supported by cooperation and consistency between all players in the aviation industry and beyond.”

"Throughout the pandemic, United has consistently demonstrated industry leadership in developing innovative initiatives to help ensure a safer travel experience for our customers, which includes being one of the first airlines to join the Common Trust Network," said Steve Morrissey, United's vice president of Regulatory and Policy.

Testing and vaccination partners include Labcorp, Quest Diagnostics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, BioReference, Centogene, Cerballiance, Eurofins, Flow Health, Screen4, Vault Health and XpresCheck.

Technology partners include Aceso Health, Affinidi, Accredify, bSmart, Allm, Dimagi, GetReal Health, Globant, IBM, MagnaCerta, Mastercard, NAS, Oracle and Trip.com.

App partners include CommonPass, CLEAR, Econet TravelPass, EAC Pass and Yoti.

Travel partners include Allianz Partners, Amadeus, ANA, Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Qantas, SITA, Swiss and United Airlines.

Collaborating partners include Airports Council International (ACI World), CARIN Alliance, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).