CAMEROON INNOVATORS HELPING FIGHTING COVID-19

CAMEROON INNOVATORS HELPING FIGHTING COVID-19
The advent of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Cameroon, like in the rest of the African continent, has brought about a whole new way of doing things. This is as a result of lockdowns imposed by governments with the attendant goal of stemming the spread of the contagious virus.
Such lockdowns have caused gross immobility of persons, offsetting the usual way of conducting business. In the central African nation of Cameroon, about 20 austerity measures have been in place since 17 March 2020.
With such difficulties in place, it has become even difficult for persons suspected of COVID-19 symptoms, and who require medical attention, to easily do so. However, a mobile app developed by a group of Information and Communication Technology, ICT, engineers, and marketers, known as MaMED, is one of the technology innovations in the country which have come to handle this situation.
The MaMED app, which has been introduced to the country’s Health Ministry for possible nationwide use, enables virtual contact between a person seeking COVID-19-related services and medical personnel. It has to be installed in a health facility or specialized center accredited by the government to handle COVID-19 patients.
Steve Biapan, a Germany-trained Medical Computer Engineer who heads the group that created the app, said “it allows health structures to better manage patients and suspects by allowing individual monitoring of each person in isolation or at home.”
“The goal here is to avoid congestion in hospitals and limit saturation and false alarms,” said Biapan, who’s also General Secretary of the Berlin area of the Association of Cameroonian Engineers and Computer Scientists in Germany
According to Biapan, patients under observation can benefit from a written chat or video call option on the App. He says it also has a geolocation feature that makes it possible to find a patient or a suspected COVID-19 case across the national territory, and even the sub-region.
The Application, which can be used by simply creating an account, is currently available in the web version, which can be accessed either on a computer or a smartphone. Its mobile version, Biapan discloses, will be available on Google Play this June.
Apart from this App that allows COVID-19 patients to be attended to virtually, there is another one that makes it possible for Cameroonians to find useful information about where to buy quality COVID-19 preventive kits while in their homes.
The app called Cities Navigator is developed by young ICT entrepreneurs from some training institutes in the political capital Yaounde, and the economic capital, Douala. It provides, in real-time, relevant information about where to find items such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers, protective gloves and face masks, as well as information on measures put in place by government authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Through this Application, users can have information about services quickly. In this period where people need sanitizers, masks, gloves, and other pharmaceutical products, it suffices just a click on our App on your mobile phone or computer and you are directed to where you can get what you want,” says Christian Belinga Amougou, one of the developers of the App. He adds that the App has a mass messaging feature through which government officials can send sensitization messages or other useful information to the public.
Apart from COVID-19-related issues, Cities Navigator also has information about services offered by supermarkets, fuel stations, and chain stores in some major cities of the country.

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