While Nigeria has fewer confirmed cases of coronavirus than some other countries in Africa, it’s not taking any chances.
A new website is helping NIgerians find out whether they’re at risk of Covid-19.
Created through a partnership between the Wellbeing Foundation and PocketPatientMD, the site will determine if a person needs to visit a coronavirus test center based on a series of questions.
The Wellbeing Foundation works with mothers and midwives across the country to ensure adequate maternal and newborn health, while PocketPatientMD is a platform that allows patients and physicians to manage their medical records digitally.
“The main motive for having the website is to help the Nigerian government reduce the spread of the virus,” said Chris Roberts, IT manager for the Wellbeing Foundation. “We want to contribute by giving people a way to check if they are at risk of the virus. At the same time, we want to link them to the right place to get help if they are.”
The site asks users about their location, recent travel history and symptoms to ascertain whether or not someone needs to get tested.
As of Thursday Nigeria had more than 400 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Citizens and private organizations are also creating other tools to help curb the spread of the virus.
Lifebank, a medical delivery company, has partnered with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research to create mobile testing centers across the country.
And tailors in Abia, in southeastern Nigeria, are using locally sourced materials to sew face masks and medical overalls for health workers and others.
Getting tested for coronavirus
If the site determines a person needs to get tested for the virus, it will share emergency numbers for the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) location closest to where they live.
The NCDC is the country’s leading national public health institute and has been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic, collating data and responding to suspected cases of the virus.
So far, the agency has tested more than 5,000 samples in Nigeria.
The website can also directly link users with symptoms of coronavirus to doctors and the NCDC, according to Roberts.
“If the person gives their full details then they can be sent to NCDC. All such cases that are red flags will be sent to the NCDC and they can contact the person directly,” he said.
The website also provides users with answers to the most frequently asked questions about coronavirus.
How the data will be used
Roberts says one of the objectives of the website is to gather insights into the regions of Nigeria that are considered vulnerable for the coronavirus’ spread.
“If a person puts in their proper location and other people who have the virus or symptoms do the same, then we can infer from the information that that particular area is a hot zone for the spread of the virus,” he said.
Information on coronavirus hot zones will be used to generate maps and reports that can be sent to public officials to give insights on areas to pay more attention to.
The data will also be shared with the NCDC and other verified researchers, according to Roberts.