Three Startups and their solutions have emerged winners of the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The startups are Algorizimi, Smart Chamber and Myclinic who came in first, second and third places respectively.
The Digital Ventilators by Algorizimi
Algorizimi is a Healthtech startup that developed a digital ventilator that could help COVID-19 patients recuperate from the illness. This digital ventilator can handle situations of rapidly changing lung compliance, as well as a possible collapse in a COVID-19 crisis situation.
The ventilator was developed by Dr Yinusa Garba and his team of experts. According to Garba, the ICU ventilator was made from local materials and can be solar-powered. This makes it usable in remote areas where electricity supply may be more of a problem than it is in the urban areas.
As the winner of the challenge, Algorizimi Health will receive N1 million from the Federal Government. Part of the fund will be used to develop the solution, according to Nigeria’s Minister of Communication, Dr Isa Pantami.
Recall that an engineering company in Plateau State, Bennie Technologies, recently went viral for building a ventilator that was targeted at COVID-19 patients. However, the project hit the rocks when the company could not deliver ICU ventilators because they could not get necessary materials such as sensors locally.
With Algorizimi’s innovation which has resulted in an ICU ventilator made from locally sourced materials in Nigeria, perhaps a collaboration with Bennie Technologies can lead to more rapid production and availability of the ICU ventilators across the country.
The Smart Disinfection Chamber Solution
The smart disinfection chamber solution is one that solves a problem that is crucial to the spread of COVID-19. When people move from place to place and come into contact with people, there is the risk of having come into contact with the COVID-19 virus.
Smart Disinfection Chamber provides a way of disinfecting people before they are allowed into buildings and gatherings. The chamber is a smart tunnel that people walk through to get sanitized before mixing with other people.
The solution won N750,000 as the runner up.
The Myclinic.ng solution
Myclinic is similar to previous solutions that help people test themselves by answering a bunch of questions and determine if they are at risk of the COVID-19 virus.
It takes it one step further, however, by making doctors available to patients remotely. This takes away the risk that comes with doctors being exposed to COVID-19 patients and brings healthcare to people via telemedicine.
Perhaps one of the reasons why Myclinic stood out is also because its mobile app and web app are already setup and operational. They only need to be scaled to meet higher demands.
Myclinic’s solution is accessible to android and iOS smartphone users. However, people who don’t own smartphones can also access the solution by dialling the phone number available on the Myclinic site.
The solution won N500,000 for coming third position at the NITDA Covid-19 Innovation Challenge.
Harnessing and encouraging innovations locally to confront the pandemic on different fronts is a good step forward. Hackathons targeted at the pandemic have shown that good innovation and skills are available in the country. They only need to be explored more aggressively.
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