In the wave of the coronavirus pandemic this year, we have incredible African women who were at the forefront of tackling Covid-19 and delivering innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges. These women have shown ingenuity in rebuilding Africa and contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 3; Good health and Wellbeing.
We have compiled the list of 5 African Female Innovators Blazing The Trail in Tackling Covid-19 from Africa Innovates Magazine.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun, a resourceful entrepreneur who through her company LifeBank, which she founded in 2016, is one of the few African women innovators redefining the continent’s health sector. Today, LifeBank is renowned for its life-saving tech-led medical product distribution services in Nigeria, with the potential to expand beyond the country’s borders.
As an on-demand emergency medical oxygen delivery product, AirBank was quickly developed to mitigate and help meet the increased demand during the pandemic. “Medical oxygen therapy became the most commonly utilized therapy in the management of the COVID-19 virus. Provision of emergency medical oxygen in optimum conditions is critical to save lives and prevent irreversible damage to the health of COVID-19 patients,” Temie says, explaining what inspired her to come up with AirBank.
Onkgopotse Nanike Khumalo
Founder, The Pocket Couch Covid-19 Mental Healthcare Forum
An online platform responding to the mental challenges that Covid-19 is presenting. PocketCounch enables psychologists to conduct virtual consultations, to help make mental healthcare accessible, yet affordable.
With the advent of the COVID19 pandemic, our collective mental health is increasingly at risk. She felt it is necessary to launch a free community-based forum where users can sign up and get help from verified mental healthcare practitioners. It is a shared space where anyone can seek mental health help. And should they choose to do so, users can also anonymously share their experiences amongst themselves.
Founder, Gaber Wear
Gaber Wear is a women-powered apparel company, owned by Jennet Lemma. When Ethiopia got its first confirmed case of COVID-19, it was a time of confusion and fear for most people, who began reaching out to the company for scrubs and facemasks.
Gaber Wear quickly positioned itself to help fight the pandemic and repurpose by producing affordable facemasks and PPE, to help meet the country’s demand. They also created a “gofundme” campaign for other people to join us in donating facemasks and PPE for those who could not afford it.
“With our campaign, we focused on the vulnerable elderly population unable to afford facemasks as well as donating scrubs and gowns to medical professionals, who are high-risk frontline personnel during this pandemic”, says Jennet Lemma
Ebtsam Hussien Saleh
Co-Founder, TES-IT: Covid-19 Awareness App
With modest resources, computer engineer and tech enthusiast Ebtsam Hussien Saleh and her colleague Tesfalem Belay Yohannes are using their skills to respond to COVID-19 in a very unique way. For Ebtsam, her hobby and passion about tech and cyberspace, while studying at university, evolved and soon became full-time work.
Ebtsam Hussien and her team member co-founded their start-up TES IT Service, in Asmara. When COVID-19 hit, they combined their skills to develop a user-friendly COVID-19 mobile app that overcomes constrained internet access by using SMS and offline mapping, to facilitate information awareness about the deadly virus.
“Our COVID-19 mobile app has a great impact on our society given that it’s a multi-language app and the target group of the app are every citizen from young to old and people with disabilities (the blind and the deaf).
Uwineza Nelly Aline
Founder, Tropical Brewery and Winery
Uwineza Nelly Aline had never planned to set up a factory for hand sanitizers, she had founded the Tropical Brewery and Winery in Kicukiro, Kigarama prefecture in Rwanda, in the hope of cracking the beverage industry. Then, COVID-19 came to town.
“I immediately said to myself – make hand sanitizers! Not just as a business, but also as my contribution in the fight against Coronavirus. So I changed my business from beer brewing and winemaking to manufacturing hand sanitizers”, says Uwineza
Her move came in handy not only for her business but most Rwandans needing access to affordable hand sanitizers. At one point during the pandemic, Rwanda even faced a shortage of hand sanitizers, and the few that were available were expensive due to high demand, as COVID-19 disrupted logistics and supply chains across the world.
We commend these innovative women at the forefront of tackling Covid-19 in Africa. Cheers to making Africa a better place.
This article was culled from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Africa