Connect with us

MedTech

Pandemic Pushes Innovation in Africa

Mounir Jamil

Published

on

Pandemic Pushes Innovation in Africa

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, countries across the world have been impacted. Africa in particular a has been faced with a lack of foreign investment, which may have sparked innovation in Africa as tech innovators find ways of creating, efficient inexpensive solutions that are to help fight against the pandemic.

For a continent where people are equipped to making do with limited resources, innovation in Africa in communities is fairly common. Who have created products ranging from home-made farm implements and vehicles, to the popular M-Pesa – the new mobile money payment system, Several startup hubs across Africa are creating innovative solutions, for the immediate demands of daily life.

Ventilators

As the corona virus targets the human respiratory system, individuals with severe symptoms find it very difficult to breath, and will need artificial ventilation. However, there are very few intensive care units in Africa that are fitted with these machines. This isn’t just a problem in Africa, industrialized nations like Germany and the United States have ordered car manufacturers to mass produce ventilators. With demand outweighing production, other counties like Ghana, South Africa, and Uganda have started producing their own ventilators.

In Uganda, an esteemed professor at Makerere University in Kampala, Vincent Ssembatya has partnered with another success story, car manufacturer Kiira Motors, with the primary objective of producing affordable ventilators for the countries cash-strapped health care system.

Another team at the Academic City University College in Ghana has demonstrated innovation and created a prototype ventilator but is currently amidst financial limitations to purchase more components for the device to be ready for certification and testing.

Non-profit venture capitalist Africa Business Angel Network is also working on creating another prototype, and Innoson Motors, a local auto manufacturer has sidelined its production process to manufacture ventilators.

 

Mobile apps and web solutions

After the success of its virtual hackathon early last week, WHO the World Health Organization is offering up to $20,000 in seed funds to the finalists that have digital solutions that may curb the pandemic. The winning team, representing Ghana has developed a tool that maps test cases that are similar to that of the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. The main difference however is that their screening tool has the ability to classify cases according to risk and furthermore submit the data to national authorities.

In Nigeria, Wellvis – the on-demand health information platform has utilized innovation in Africa and developed an easy-to-use app called COVID-19 Triage Tool. This free app allows users to assess their own risk category according to their symptoms and previous exposure history. Depending on the answers, the user will be offered remote medical advice or will be referred to a nearby health care facility. In parallel, the South African country is using platforms like WhatsApp to run interactive Chabot that can answer common questions about symptoms and treatments. Also, in an attempt to decrease fake news and curb panic, two alumni of the University of Cape Town have created Coronaapp, a tool that releases accurate and centralized information about the pandemic.

 

Mobile money transfer services

Africa is already familiar with phone-based money transfer services with the mobile money platform M-Pesa being used by more than 20 million people. Safaricom, the telecom giant that owns M-Pesa has waived fees on transactions under a certain amount. And Airtel have also waived charges of all payments through their platform Airtel Money.

Food delivery services

Lockdowns are targeted at stopping COVID-19 from spreading. But they also stop almost everything else including food deliveries to markets. In several Southern African cities, markets are essential to supplying locals with daily essentials, contrary to Europe where people can easily stock up on food.

Fresh In A Box, is a startup in Zimbabwe that delivers fresh food produce directly from farmers and door to door. The company operates mainly from an app, using their fleet of delivery motorcycles. This app helps reduce the risk of infection and prevents shortages of food in the community.

In Uganda, a popular app known as Market Garden allows for venders to deliver and sell fresh fruits and vegetable to customers as restrictions that promote social distancing have been applied. The app was developed by the Institute for Social Transformation, a Ugandan charity. The app reduces crowds in the market areas by allowing individuals to sell their goods from their home directly through the app.

 

Junior social media strategist with a degree in business. Passionate about technology, film, music and video games.

MedTech

Transparent smart mask allows emotional expression

Mounir Jamil

Published

on

Transparent Smart Mask allows Emotion Expression

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, face masks have become an essential part of daily life. However, the masks that we use have stolen a profound way of connecting with others. A person’s facial expression is one of the most important aspects of communication. The typical fabric or paper masks end up concealing our identities and facial reactions (or at least half of them). We are losing valuable personal connections with others because we can’t understand their intentions or see their facial expressions when they smile, frown or laugh.

The answer to this problem? The LEAF mask, the first transparent smart mask that is FDA registered. It has N-99 standard air filtering abilities in addition to a self-purifying feature thanks to a built in UV-C light. The mask protects you and your loved ones while enabling you to convey emotions and expressions; it’s as close to normal as we can get right now.

The LEAF mask’s most defining feature is definitely its transparent design. The unibody is covered in transparent and medical-grade silicon that provides a universal fit, and ensures your face isn’t visually covered by an opaque mask. This is accomplished via the transparent smart mask filters that are located around the chin, which keeps your nose, mouth and cheeks visible to people around you – making the mask more communication-friendly and allowing others to read your lips or facial expressions while talking to them.

The LEAF transparent smart mask also sports an antifogging feature, preventing your mask from becoming cloudy on the inside whenever you take a breath. This means it also allows your smartphones facial-unlock feature to work without taking your mask off. It’s the world’s first transparent mask that has high-quality N99+ HEPA\HEPA-Carbon filters fitted into the lower chin section. Another impressive feature is the self-purifying function, which is made possible with the built-in UV-C light. The LEAF comes in 3 different options: Leaf HEPA, Leaf UV, and Leaf PRO.

The LEAF mask is available in 4 different sizes made to fit children as well as adults. With its transparent structure, the LEAF mask is challenging the status quo of opaque fabric and plastic masks. Especially with disposable masks becoming a threat to the environment, LEAF offers the right solution. A reusable and high-quality mask with long-lasting filters.

Continue Reading

MedTech

Microsoft online courses for the unemployed

Adnan Kayyali

Published

on

Microsoft online courses for the unemployed

Microsoft online courses have been created on LinkedIn in support of those hit hardest by the pandemic. The pandemic has caused widespread devastation to worldwide economies, affecting different parts of the world in varying degrees. One thing is for sure, worldwide unemployment hasn’t been this high since The Great Depression.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), it is projected that the economic and labour crisis brought about by the pandemic may see around 25 million additional people unemployed worldwide.

What’s more, they estimate that some 436 million businesses in sectors such as retail, manufacturing, wholesale, hospitality and others are at high risk of “serious disruption”. Some businesses and jobs may bounce back after the pandemic, but there will most certainly be permanent changes to the post-Coronavirus job landscape.

“This is no longer only a global health crisis, it is also a major labor market and economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people.” Said Director-General of ILO, Guy Ryder.

“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future” he later continued. “As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent.”

In response to the crisis, we are seeing tech companies push relief efforts on their own platforms, assisting severely affected communities through various means. Efforts like information platforms, live maps, updated news, and even platforms to ease distribution of medical resources worldwide, have become invaluable tools.

Microsoft online courses are meant to boost efforts in education, with the company distributing $20 million in donations to numerous NGOs, aimed at aiding those impacted by unemployment.

Using its own tool, LinkedIn Learning Paths was designed with tutorials to kickstart a person’s career in 10 fields currently in high-demand, according to LinkedIn’s data. These jobs will offer livable wages with promising future prospects.

The jobs listed include: digital marketer, graphic designer, IT support, sales representative, project manager, IT administration, software developer, customer services rep, data analyst, financial analyst. With courses free of charge and available to everyone until March 2021, anyone can go to this link and learn a new trade.

The education portal is part of a global trend pushing towards remote education inclusion in mainstream education systems. Microsoft online courses are just a drop among thousands of hours of quality educational material offered by companies such as Udemy, Skillshare, The Great Courses Plus and many more.

Alongside these, Microsoft Learn is offering supplemental technical content to these Paths, and Microsoft is also making GitHub’s Learning Lab free to practice if you’re learning skills to become a software developer.

Continue Reading

MedTech

New feature on Google Maps aids in the fight against Coronavirus

Mounir Jamil

Published

on

New feature on Google Maps aids in the fight against Coronavirus

A new feature on Google Maps now allows for users to get around safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. More than 11 million people have contracted the virus worldwide, and almost 500,000 have died according to the Johns Hopkins University. Countries worldwide have adopted different restrictions depending on the severity of the outbreak, which has caused numerous travel complications.

Ramesh Nagarajan, Google Maps product management director commented. “As countries around the world adapt, we are committed to bringing users the most pertinent information right to their fingertips, so when you’re ready and able to, you can safely venture out.”

The new feature on Google Maps collects data from national and local governments and agencies and alerts users to pertinent information. It also sports other updates:

Restriction alerts

Google Maps users will now receive driving alerts that notify them of COVID-19 checkpoints while crossing national borders, also the varying restrictions across their routes.

Users will now see the alert on the directions screen if they are entering an area that is impacted by restrictions, like mask mandate or social distancing regulations. These alerts are currently available in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Testing alerts

If a user is headed towards a medical facility or a Coronavirus testing center, they will receive alerts that remind them of eligibility and facility guidelines. These alerts are available in the US, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Public transit alerts

When using Google Maps to navigate public transportation in an area affected by Covid-19 restrictions, travelers will receive alerts from local transit agencies with reminders of regulations, like mask requirements or if government mandates are impacting transit services.

When users are using Google Maps to navigate public transportation in an area with COVID-19 restrictions, travelers will receive alerts from local transit agencies that remind them of the regulations. These alerts are rolling out in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, France, Mexico, India, Spain, Netherlands, Thailand, UK and the US.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 Inside Telecom