So we still have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lesotho? That’s great. So is it time to relax? By no means. If anything, this provides a breathing space for us to prapare. Who knows? If every other country has this desease, there are high chaces that we won’t be spared for too long.
What have we learnt from countries that dealt relatively successfully with the outbreak such as South Korea?
1. Speed, Speed, Speed: This is not only neccessary AFTER confirmed cases but BEFORE. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. So getting everything ready, materials, equipment, training you name it, is key.
2. Test, Test, Test: so that you can have access to Data, Data, Data. There is nothing more dangerous than fighting the enemy you don’t know. Some people can carry the desease and pass it to others without them showing any symptoms, so it’s better to test even people without symptoms if possible, while giving priority to those with symptoms.
3. Trace, Trace, Trace and Trace contacts. You can’t trace if you haven’t tested. And tracing contacts is KEY. This is where YOU, the coders, are invited to assist. More on this later.
4. Treat, Quarantine, Quarantine, Quarantine. Once we know who are infected, social distancing is next. It may be better to give priority to treating those who show severe symptoms and quarantining mostly those with mild symptoms while keeping an eye on ALL of them.
Now you know where you, the coders, fit in the large scheme of things. Hence the COMPETITION
1. We need Lesotho coders to develop a CONTACT TRACING app that is quick, effective and allows health workers to have important information about people who may have had contact with the person carrying the desease. The data should be updated in real-time and be able to be shared countrywide and instantly among health workers all over the country. It may even trace and map movements of infected individuals. It may identify areas that are seen as hotspots, where there are more people with the desease.
While we advice that you learn from contact tracing apps that are being developed in other countries (e.g. Google and Apple have been working on one, South Korea was super) it is absolutely important to make sure that the app takes into consideration, Lesotho’s unique position in terms of technology and societal practices.
2. The winning apps will be voted for in this platform. All information about the apps will be posted at the same time on this Facebook page until a given deadline. The first three apps with the most likes by then will be the winning apps and they will be announced as such. The first winner will be interviewed to give more details about how his app works. Information about the three winning apps will be forwarded to relevant authorities in Lesotho provided they are willing to help the coders develop the apps further for use. It will be app to the relevant authorities to decide if they are interested in any of the three apps and how they will engage the developers if they are.
3. There is NO funding for the development of the app and the winners are not promised any monetary reward by the NUL Innovation Hub. This is the initiative of the NUL Innovation Hub only. We are not working with any organisation on this initiative.
4. To join, send the following details:
(a) Your full names and a clear half-body picture.
(b) A maximum of three hundred words information about your app.
(c) A screenshot of your app.
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before Tuesday the 28th of April at 12:00 pm.
The apps will be screened. Not all submitted apps may be posted.