The impacts of the coronavirus on the world at large are now varied. Although countries like the US and UK are still combating rising rates, countries like Taiwan and Australia have succeeded in bringing down their infection rates significantly through effective leadership, quick response times, and most importantly, technical solutions.
Many countries in Africa are still struggling to curb fast-growing rates. In Nigeria, poor leadership and inadequate provisions by the state for poor citizens to complement necessary lockdown measures, are forcing people back into the labor market and increasing the risk of spread. Regardless of state failures, Nigerian start-ups and companies have pushed through to provide the much-needed infrastructure that is essential to combating this pandemic. A few of them include:
The genomic research startup that began in 2019 as a biobank of pan-African DNA, launched a fund to raise capital for more coronavirus testing centers in Nigeria. The startup raised up to 500,000 dollars and has officially opened a mobile laboratory in Ogun state to test individuals. The company's partners include First City Monument Bank, ArgentilCapital Partners, and Argnergy.
Agri-tech start-up, BeatDrone, has made a detour from the agriculture industry to the health market in a bid to help curb the coronavirus. The company which specializes in using drone technology to spray and map farmlands and also count crops, has been contracted by the Ondo state government to disinfect neighborhoods by spraying them with disinfectant using drones. The Nigerian government also claims it will assist the startup in setting up a factory in Akure, Ondo State to facilitate the production of more drones.
Healthcare logistics company Lifebank has also built a mobile testing center in Yaba, Lagos state where individuals can be tested for free. The company which partnered with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) aims to test at least 200 people a day and has been operational since early April.
Health-tech company, Wellvis - which functions as a telemedicine platform - was one of several startups selected by Ventures Platform - a pan-African early-stage fund - to receive funding to provide innovative solutions to the ongoing pandemic. The company created a Covid-19 Triaging app that enables users to self-assess for signs of infection and assesses their risk level based on their history of exposure. The feedback on the app will then be used to advise users on the nearest medical facilities or provide remote medical counsel if necessary. The tool is hoped to significantly lessen the burden on the country’s disease control helplines at this time.