Some Nigerian startups are active players in the front line of Nigeria’s fight against coronavirus. The outbreak led to a global lockdown, disruption of businesses, and economies, but some Nigerian tech startups have proven worthy.
Their activities confirmed how private businesses and entrepreneurs could utilize their assets and funds for social good amid a devastating outbreak that has pretty much shut down the global economy.
Here, Smartpreneur looks at some of the startups and what they are doing:
54gene – Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong
In the wake of the pandemic, 54gene, a genomics research startup, launched a $500,000 fund to boost local testing capacity for coronavirus. The move was significant, especially with Nigeria’s alarmingly low number of tests. Today, it is one of the approved testing centres for coronavirus in the country and also for travelers.
Apart from COVID-19, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, founder and CEO of 54gene, says the startup has set up the first private lab in Africa (located in Nigeria) capable of human whole-genome sequencing with Illumina’s Novaseq 6000.
Lifebank – Temi Tunbosun
Founded by Temi Tunbosun, LifeBank, a health startup that finds and delivers blood to patients, has turned its attention to seeking critical medical equipment for Covid-19 treatment and has created a national register to track hospitals with working ventilators and respirators.
MDaaS Global – Oluwasoga Oni – CEO
MdaaS is a tech startup that focuses on health-related issues. MDaaS has a history in medicine, public health, and pharmaceuticals, which makes the firm essential during the pandemic currently being experienced.
In light of COVID-19, MDaaS quickly shifted gears to support the evolving response strategy. Its efforts focused on three categories: increasing testing capacity in Nigeria, supporting our partner hospitals with critical supplies, and ensuring the safety of our staff and patients.
Flying Doctors Nigeria – Ola Orekunrin Brown – Founder
Flying Doctors Nigeria set up a booth with red-gloved hands that gently dip cotton swabs down nostrils and mouths of people taking turns to stand in front, masks lowered, and head tilted backward. Inside the booth to which the gloves are attached is a COVID-19 sample collector.
According to the Nigerian health tech startup, the mobile booths, which separate the sample collector from the people, have boosted COVID-19 testing. Between 80 and 100 samples are collected per booth every day, although the number varies among states. Nigeria is conducting an average of 2500–3000 tests daily.
In a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Flying Doctors founder, Dr. Ola Brown, explains that the sample collection booth reduces to zero the number of infections on the people conducting the tests and saves a lot of time.
Wellvis – Dr. Wale Adeosun – Co-founder
Wellvis is a Lagos-based online health information and services platform. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Wellvis designed a COVID-19 Triage Tool using the official case definition by the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control (NCDC). It uses responses to clinical and epidemiological questions to categorize users into low, medium, and high risk. Each risk category is then educated on the appropriate next steps, as described by the NCDC.