Operators donate kits, offer free SMS in COVID-19 fight
Two players in Nigeria’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector have further donated equipment kits and services to the government in the fight against COVID-19. The two operators are MTN and Interswitch Group.
MTN in a statement, on Monday, said as of June 19th, it has provided 3.71 billion free SMS to more than 51 million subscribers across every state of the Nigerian Federation,; which means 75 per cent of all MTN subscribers have now utilised the service during the pandemic.
Commenting on the update, MTN CEO, Ferdi Moolman said: “Having entered the third and final month of this, I am hugely encouraged that so many people nation-wide have made use of the service. The three billion-plus text messages sent so far reflects the importance of communication during times like this, especially for the most vulnerable amongst us. I am grateful to our government and regulators, partners and employees for the roles they have played in making the delivery of this service possible, and encourage our subscribers to continue to make use of it until the end of June.”
On its part, Interswitch said in furtherance of its efforts to assist government in ramping up the testing capacity for the coronavirus across the country, it has donated personal protective equipment (PPE) and rapid diagnostic test kits (RDTs) to Lagos State Government.
The donation, which was presented to the State Government by representatives of the Interswitch Group, was received by the Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde, on behalf of the Governor at Alausa, Ikeja, recently.
The Group revealed that the donation is geared towards intensifying government’s efforts in the fight against the deadly coronavirus. This is part of Interswitch’s on-going support for the numerous local intervention initiatives between State Governments and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Speaking during the donation ceremony, Titilola Shogaolu, Divisional CEO, Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services Limited (IFIS), said as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country with increasing numbers of reported cases, it is imperative to increase the testing capacity in Nigeria.
She reaffirmed Interswitch’s commitment towards supporting governments at all levels in the fight against the deadly pandemic. Shogaolu disclosed that Interswitch, through its health-tech subsidiary, eClat, has developed a COVID-19 pathway software platform. The platform allows members of the public to perform remote self-assessment exercise to determine their risk status and pre-disposition to the virus. The platform analyses users’ information from a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure, observed symptoms, health and travel history. Users are thereafter advised whether to self-quarantine, visit a healthcare facility for further testing, or just keep safe.
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