BY EMEKA AGINAM
In an effort to help build a more robust tech response to the Ebola crisis spreading like wild fire globally, concerned African ICT professionals and stakeholders have called for the establishment of a national electronic response centre (NERS) in all African countries on Ebola.
The Tech rescue response from Africa ICT domain network who made the call last week after an online meeting to brainstorm and deliver sustainable solution to the Ebola pandemic said to be terrorizing the African continent since 1976 further noted that as a matter national emergency, all African countries must create a national and Africa-wide database on Ebola.
Leading voices in African IT domain who met in a teleconference to proffer possible solution through the use of IT will include, the Oracle of the Nigerian IT industry, Chris Uwaje , Ms. Dorothy Gordon, Chana and other tech specialists and senior leadership from Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Work, Liberian Telecommunications Authority, Samaritan Purse, Sierra Leone Health implementing NGO, Liberia-based tech consultants, Lib diaspora tech community, Microsoft, Liberia Embassy in South Africa, DR Congo tech Diaspora, and Uganda techie.
The initiative was put together by Thought works Team and coordinated by Prieska Buthelezi, who is from South Africa.
Thoughtworks is a community of passionate individuals whose purpose is to revolutionize software design, creation and delivery, while advocating for positive social change.
Roy Singham founded ThoughtWorks in Chicago over 20 years ago with the aim of attracting and employing the best knowledge workers in the world – building a community based on attitude, aptitude and integrity.
It would be recalled that the Chief Software architect of Mobile Software Solution Limited, Chris Uwaje in response to the Ebola had deployed a Team to create Ebola database-engine, an app to capture the virus report online across the nation
The app has been developed and can be accessed free of charge at : http://bit.ly/1opksI4.Log on Major concerns/key issues.
Accordingly, the meeting of the IT experts observed that Information and
Communications Technology (ICT) should be at the centre and backbone of the
Sustainable solution to the Ebola crisis in Africa.
Regrettably, according to the online meeting, national leadership teams
Core policy makers in Africa were yet to realize the fact that unless ICT was actively
Deployed, the Ebola crisis which started as far back as 1976, may become a recurring decimal.
The techies further observed that basic information flowing out via SMS from major mobile providers, websites, social media, posters, radio announcements, cell phone penetration is notable yet most have basic phones.
What is lacking
According to the stakeholders, there was inadequate real-time GIS mapping of information to indicate statistics related to the spread, service delivery and prevention efforts for the disease.
Limited internet connectivity, especially in rural area and urban centres, according to the technology experts should be addressed.
Essential health facilities with limited internet access, limited real time information, inadequate tools for pulling information from affected members of the public into
Systems at MoH’s, contacting tracing and follow-up for those ill or quarantined, insufficient attention to remote arears, minimal collaboration amongst different impacted countries, lack of collaboration between government and non-governmental organizations, according the concerned IT experts must be addressed urgently as part of the strategies to confront Ebola killer.