During these uncertain times, snippets of good news are more rewarding than ever. That’s why we have our eyes on Senegal. Senegal is emerging as one of the world’s leaders in the fight against COVID-19.
In April, the country has seen a decrease in the number of hospitalised patients, Senegal’s coronavirus-related deaths remain low, and the country has clocked the highest rate of recovery of coronavirus patients in Africa.
Here’s a look at four ways Senegal is innovating in it’s COVID-19 response.
COVID-19 testing kits
In March researchers in Senegal began validation trials on a COVID-19 diagnostic test that can be done at home — for only $1. If all goes to plan, the tests — which were originally made to check for Dengue fever — could be distributed across Africa as early as June.
Senegal has built its response to COVID-19 on successful experience in containing disease outbreaks in the past, such as those of Ebola and HIV/AIDS.
Through expertise in timely identification and response, these experiences have enabled the country to do what most countries have not: work on the mass production of tests with the goal of testing everyone.
Yes, you read that correctly! The Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar has created “Docteur Car”, a multifunctional robot that will enable caregivers to treat patients without running the risk of being contaminated.
Not only will this innovative technology be able to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it even speaks several languages.
To make it work, healthcare staff simply load the robot with medication or food, and pilot it manually or automatically to patients in their hospital rooms. This reduces the risk of transmission of the virus from the patient to the healthcare workers.
The “Alerte Santé Sénégal” app
After the first COVID-19 cases in Africa, Jesus Ekie wasted no time in creating an app called “Alerte Santé Sénégal” (Senegal Health Alert).
How does it work? By providing the public with the latest fact-checked information on the spread of COVID-19, Alerte Santé Sénégal helps combat the spread of fake news, ensuring that official information is readily available for the public.
Alerte Santé Sénégal aims to provide information and statistics on all diseases based solely on official sources, namely the Ministry of Health and Social Action of Senegal, the Centre des Opérations d’Urgence Sanitaire (COUS), and the World Health Organisation.
This app is helping empower citizens in Senegal to ensure they are aware of the latest news in this rapidly developing situation.
Digital Communication Innovations
A digital platform called “Sunucity” (meaning “Our city” in the Wolof language) allows local authorities and citizens to communicate.
It includes an incident reporting feature, which has enabled populations to report any incidents that occur in their surroundings, such as a suspected case of COVID-19. The app also allows local authorities to communicate back with the public and inform them of any important notices.
This digital innovation has helped ensure people in Senegal are aware of the latest news pertaining to coronavirus, and can hear about potential tools and solutions at the ministry and state level.
Senegal’s expertise in disease control combined with its dedication to digital solutions is setting a solid example for other countries on how to control COVID-19.