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WHO Africa hosts hackathons, offers seed funds to fight COVID-19

The World Health Organization in Africa is regarding virtual hackathons and offering up to $ 20,000 in seed-funds to finalists with digital solutions to stem COVID-1 9.

The regional position of the UN agency completed its first challenge earlier this month and will host a second, for French speaking Africa, in coming weeks, WHO’s Technical Officer Moredeck Chibi told TechCrunch.

According to Dr. Chibi, the WHO-AFRO Digital Hackathon series aims to prompt tech applications — with specificity to Africa — to curb the spread and negative impact of COVID-1 9 — which began to spike on the continent in March.

For the first virtual challenge, WHO selected players via an online employment process and split them into squads via Zoom. Groups were tasked with developing scalable thoughts aligned with WHO’s current COVID-1 9 response strategy, which includes infection prevention and control, bag control, surveillance and continuity of health services.

The winning hackathon group, led by Ghanaian Entrepreneur Laud Basing, developed a screening tool idea — operable via mobile app or USSD code — that delineates COVID-1 9 test case, groups them according to risk and provides data to national authorities to plan responses. The team will receive $ 10,000 from the WHO to pilot their idea, and carry in place additional funds and expertise.

Image Credits: World Health Organization Africa

WHO aggregates coronavirus data on its Africa incident tracking database.

Early in March, the continent’s COVID-1 9 specimen by country are located within the single toes, but by mid-month those numerals had hopped — producing the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moetito seemed alarm systems on the virus at a March 19 news conference. She mentioned at the beginning of March there were only five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with examples. That had grown to 30 by mid-month and now stands at 44.

By the World Health Organization’s stats Monday there were 6023 COVID-1 9 specimen in Sub-Saharan Africa and 240 corroborated fatalities related to the virus, up from 463 cases and 8 fatalities on March 18.

The hardest hit country so far, South africans, has gone into a government enforced lockdown.

As COVID-1 9 spreads in Africa’s major economies, policy-makers and founders have appeared to the continent’s tech sphere to molds responses.

Africa Roundup: Africa’s tech ecosystem responds to COVID-1 9

The central banks of Ghana and Kenya have turned to mobile-money as a public-health tool, adopting measures to shift a greater volume of transactions toward digital fees and away from cash — which the World Health Organization flagged as a conduit for coronavirus.

Africa’s largest incubator, CcHub, launched a store and open call for tech jobs aimed at curtail COVID-1 9 and its social and economic impact.

And Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia has offered African governments use of its last-mile delivery network for distribution of supplies to healthcare equipment and workers.

The WHO’s COVID-1 9 referred Africa hackathons aren’t the first time the organization has turned to the continent’s techies. In 2019, the Geneva based torso launched the WHO Innovation Challenge — a competition to shape” home-grown innovations with potential to solve African health challenges “. It gleaned 2400 entries from 44 countries.

Those interested in pitching a solution to the World Health Organization’s next hackathon in response to COVID-1 9 can contact WHO’s regional Africa office.

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