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Technology missing as Nigeria battles COVID-19

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The dramatic spread of COVID-19 has disrupted lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide.

And while governments and organizations around the world are coming together and finding innovative ways to minimize the impact on public health and to limit disruptions to economies and supply chains, Nigeria has opted for sore-footed and refractory approach.

At present, the best effort is mostly uncoordinated and at times competing approaches to the Covid-19 outbreak.

So far, Nigeria has not been successful in managing the COVID-19 crisis by emphasizing transparency, open communication, public-private partnerships, evidence-based deployment of public health measures, and innovative use of technology and data.

Transparency and communication will help allay fear and prevent panic.

Luckily, some technology firms are not waiting for government- they on their own are finding new ways to tackle the pandemic.

For instance, Konga, the composite e-commerce giant was arguably one of the first Nigerian corporates to anticipate the coronavirus challenge.

It has already declared its readiness to deploy its huge nationwide delivery and warehousing infrastructure to assist the government in reaching the citizenry with essential needs.

This is in addition to its N10m #SoloSafe fund to cushion the effects of the dreaded coronavirus.

Elsewhere, Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said that telcos must also support government through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, to provide safety materials that will protect the public against Coronavirus effect.

And because of the essential nature of telecommunications infrastructures in managing the COVID-19 crisis, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has requested that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) initiates the process of National Right-of-Passage (nRoP) for all technical staff of telecommunications companies in the lockdown.

Mr. Ajibola Olude, executive secretary, ATCON, said “We count on NCC to expedite action in this regard while we appreciate the Commission for being proactive and attentive. We also urge all our teeming members and their staff to comply with all the guidelines stipulated by the Federal Ministry of Health and all relevant authorities at State levels”’

Prince Kalu Uche, a public relations consultant sees clear, positive outcomes for Nigeria and Nigerians if technology firms chose to work with local authorities.

“If we are to succeed in the battle against COVID-19, government must look up to tech firms for solutions for communicating with the public and monitoring their health. Technology solutions must be embedded” he said.


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