Joel Ogunsola – Nigeria’s Top 10 Covid-19 Innovators

Founder, [Tech4Dev]

Joel Ogunsola is theFounder and Head of Partnerships and Sustainability, Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative [Tech4Dev], a non-profit organization creating opportunities for economic empowerment and financial freedom through access to digital skills-based training and opportunities. Tech4Dev strongly believes in the efficacy of technology and technology-based tools for socialchange which spurred their response to the national call to health tech companies/organisations for technology-based tools to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. The organisation has been recognized among many that are solving for a range of current issues resulting from the pandemic.

At the landfall of the virus in Nigeria, the need arose for developing solutions that could disseminate useful information, help the government monitor infection trends, produce essential medical supplies and support contact tracing.

In the face of a virus that grows exponentially, the nation’s healthcare system and the economy have come under threat. The most effective way to stop the spread of the virus has been defined as accurately tracking and mapping all confirmed cases and this is where GloEpid by Tech4Dev comes in.

The company has placed GloEpid on the solution table, an efficiency-solving technology tool for various organisations incorporating a range of technologies, including data analytics, AI, software and mobile technology systems. The product suite includes a multi-channel (IVR, USSD, Chat bot and mobile app) self-assessment solution, a resource management and field communication solution and a disease tracking and contact tracing solution powered by a mobile app and an admin dashboard targeted at helping relevant government organizations track at scale and monitor the spread of coronavirus, while also providing the public with the ability to use different channels to check their exposure risk level as well as enable government manage resources, field communication and cases more efficiently.

The contact tracing solution features a backward contact tracing and identification system, which is powered by Bluetooth and GPS technology, which allows for anonymous logging of data of people in close contact while also providing advisory service on proximity to high risk locations (places where incidences of the virus have been recorded).

It also has a multichannel notification system as well as self-assessment solution that helps individuals assess their symptoms and know when to seek help. Its two-pronged tracking and surveillance technology solution is directly targeted at containing the spread of coronavirus.

The solution suite is custom built for adopting government organizations and relevant agencies, while strengthening their communication capacity by providing other communication channels to carry out self-risk assessments and report symptoms to the public.

Tech4Dev is moving further up the innovation ladder by developing an advanced case management tool for epidemy. According to Ogunsola, the tool underway has the capacity to show relevant stakeholders and government organizations how many beds there are left in isolation centres and predicts the availability in five days to a week at a 90 percent degree of accuracy.

GloEpid’s range of services is about to be deployed in four states across Nigeria, (with the NCDC adopting its self-assessment function)as well as plans to roll it out in 20 more states to further strengthen already existing health infrastructure and technologies. In doing this, GloEpid is taking steps to get ahead of the next public health emergency.

With the contribution of a pool of volunteers driven by their technology partner, Prunedge, GloEpid aims to be able to develop a system that can predict future disease outbreaks across Africa. The organisation is keen to ensure that its disease tolerance solutions can cover multiple diseases of public health significance at any given time.

The organisation’s technology tool is being sought after by state governments across the country with good prospects for adapting the solutions across the African continent.

Tech4Dev, is a non-profit social enterprise that creates access to decent work and entrepreneurship opportunities and platforms for Africans through digital skills empowerment and advocacy. Ogunsola and his team are on a mission to prepare people for the future of work by imparting digital skills that bridge the gap of unskilled labour. This is in a world in which digital knowledge is increasingly becoming a requirement due to increasing use of technology and automation of jobs.

The organisation, which was founded in 2016, has trained more than 3,000 people on digital skills across 14 states of the federation and over 400 beneficiaries have been facilitated to suitable jobs, according to the organisation’s records. It counts more than 5,000 youths inspired to pursue careers in technology.

The organization through its Nigerian Women Techsters (NWT) initiative has trained 2,475 women in digital and deep tech skills across 12 underserved Nigerian communities across the federation with support from Microsoft Philanthropies, Access Bank and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ). The Women Techsters initiative (a successor of the Nigerian Women Techsters initiative) is aimed at reaching 5,000,000 women across Africa by 2030.

The goal is to empower Africans for decent work with digital and life skills that foster financial freedom, economic growth and sustainable development. Low quality jobs in which the African youth is inaptly engaged offer low opportunities for sustainable development.

Given the trend of low-skilled jobs being lost to automation, the organisation has taken upon itself the critical role of equipping young people with the necessary skills to secure decent jobs.