The Health Hackathon On Risk Communication Nigeria Edition: Day 4
Day four of the hackathon kicked off with teams anxiously putting the last touches on their hackathon ideas over an uncharacteristically quiet breakfast at Civic Innovation Lab, Wuse2, Abuja. Over the previous three days the participants had crafted themselves into teams with diverse skills in order to compete for the three prizes which would allow them to develop their risk communication life saving tech ideas in preparation for another health epidemic.
At 10am the judges arrived and the last few participants handed in their Powerpoint presentations. Judging was Russ Klein from Sensi Hub, Steve Chidi from Civic Innovation Lab, Mr Wale Ajala from ECOWAS, Pilar Hernandez from GFA Consulting Group and Sarah Mengesha from GiZ.
First to present was Star Team with their presentation which informed the audience about health emergencies, the misinformation effect, the issue of cholera outbreaks and more. Their idea revolved around ‘Pandemedia’, a web and mobile app solution that aimed to solve the problem of misinformation on pandemics with a focus on mass media streams by acting as a one stop info hub. Unfortunately some of the judges thought that their idea was not technically feasible and noted that they hadn’t presented a prototype. Star Team is made up of Uthman O. Ogunkanmi, Sulaiman Habib Adam, Yusuf Mai, Gasparry Osakwenibi, Abdullahi Haruna Abdullahi and Edoh John.
Second was Teche. This group’s idea surrounded community participation, with a tagline ‘join the good people in keeping your communities safe.’ The app idea they had aims to use the good will of people across the country to disperse healthcare information from WHO, NCDC and other organisations. They would use social media to recruit volunteers who would be rated via a points system. Some judges thought that the idea was unfortunately not sustainable as they felt that the idea already existed in other formats. Others thought it had good potential and that it was original. The overall feeling was that the volunteers may not be motivated enough to carry out their jobs properly with just the points system incentive. This team is compiled of Lawal, Lotanna, Jide, Ghanlyya, Zainab and Habeebah.
Third to present was Risk Alert who were focusing on the challenge of getting messages from the government and responders out leveraging social media platforms. Their web based hub aims to aggregate social media users to share life saving information and encourage two way communication. Their key partners would be NCDC, EHealth Africa, NAFDAC and WHO. By the time they presented they had already made a website which the audience were able to access. Judges were concerned that there were already similar platforms and that it only targeted a portion of the population and excluded rural areas. The team was made up of Stanley Ibe, Oluwasegun Oluwaseun Oyedare, Agbo James D., Wofai Opene Vincent, Yemi Kayode Joseph and Michael Olugbemi.
Then team MATZAPP had made a prototype which they presented to the panel in video format. The app idea would disseminate accurate and detailed healthcare information to individuals. It would include outbreak preventative messages, information on what to do should you be experiencing symptoms, alerts when there was a suspected outbreak and a chat function. Some judges felt it wasn’t too creative and that end users without smartphones could not access it.
Winning team Creative Minds were fifth to present with their app idea Infodemic, which would send out vital healthcare information and offer incentives to volunteers and local leaders across the country who would act as ambassadors for the platform. The volunteers and local leaders would be required to send updates back through the app in text and video form about diseases and issues. The team plan on encompassing a live chat function in their app where people can get healthcare advice from professionals instantly. The judges said that their idea was engaging, innovative and that with more time it would be feasible for the group to execute large-scale platform that would have a wide reach all across Nigeria, and even beyond. The team was made up of Eliot, an entrepreneur; Nestor, a medical doctor; Stephen, a backend and API developer; Favour, a social worker and David and Victor who are both web developers.
Next up was team Alexa for Health who had considered existing risk communication systems and their shortfalls. Their solution to risk communication during an emergency was to allow app and USSD users to find out where their nearest healthcare facility was should there be an emergency, and to disperse healthcare information. Judges were concerned that the USSD queries did not display more than certain responses when querying data and some felt it wasn’t feasible. Others thought they had good research and that it was a good source of information. Overall, the judging panel though that the idea wasn’t vital enough to win and that people could use Google to get that information.
Wakanda team impressed judges enough to win 3rd place with their their Info Dissemination System. Their app and SMS service operates as a public safety system that allows users to receive geographically-targeted messages alerting them of threats to health in their area. The judges said that team Wakanda’s idea was very innovative and feasible. They were particularly impressed as the team had created a working prototype in time for the panel and one of the judges even received a message on his phone from the service during the presentation. The team had a slightly embarrassing incident half way through the presentation as one team member’s mum decided to call, which kept showing up on the big screen and providing a lot of amusement for the audience. Nevertheless they persisted and impressed judges with their big ideas and quick software development skills. Wakanda team consists of Samuel Omole, Daniel Adepoju, Ahmad Abdulaziz, Godsent Eliel and Samuel Stephen.
Team GERCEE presented their idea to build an online hub, which will host maps, apps, datasets, analytics, communication, misinformation dissemination and more. It will be cloud based and it has the ability to share information between ministries, agencies and more. The problem they will be focusing on is the lack of two way coordination and risk info sharing among ministries, agencies and individuals. They had noted that they would attempt to access cell phone towers but judges noted that that was not possible. Other judges felt they had done their research well but overall the feeling was that it was not quite feasible.
E-info team, who received a highly commended recommendation from the judges, presented their idea Path4Life which was a pre recorded phone call system where people in rural areas who were experiencing an emergency could dial a number and then press different buttons to hear answers about questions to early stage symptoms of an outbreak disease. They presented well with a real number that the judges could call and hear a prerecorded message, which was entertaining for the audience. Some judges felt that if a family was having an emergency the last thing they would want to hear was ‘press one, press two’ and then maybe not be able to hear the answer to the exact question they had. They overall thought that the idea was realistic. The team consisted of Ema Effiong, Abdusallam Adam, Esther Ikhide, Hassan Abdulrazaq, Benjamin Enueme and Benjamin Akinmoyeje.
Overall the four day hackathon on risk communication in partnership with GFA, GiZ, NCDC, the Federal Ministry of Health and Ecowas was a great success and enjoyed by all. We saw some extremely impressive and creative ideas which could genuinely save thousands of lives during an outbreak should they be properly developed. It was a great honour to work alongside so many bright minds in Abuja and we thank everyone for joining us! The winning teams will be joining us to discuss the next steps on bringing their risk communication platforms to life. Watch this space for their developments into the future!
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