An Ethiopian software developer is calling on other IT gurus to help in the fight against Covid-19. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)
An Ethiopian software developer is calling on other IT gurus to help in the fight against Covid-19. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Ethiopian software developer asks IT gurus to help fight Covid-19

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Cape Town - An Ethiopian software developer based in the United States is calling on other tech gurus to help the fight against Covid-19 in his native country.

Mike Endale piloted the Ethiopia Covid-19 Response Task Force Community on GitHub, a platform where developers can work together to host and review code, manage projects and build software.

“We need an army of tech volunteers to help the Ethiopian ministry of health collect, analyze and report to the agency so that we can assist them in the time of need. The better data collection/analysis/reporting there is, the better the response and the more effective the mitigation strategies will be," he posted on social media.

"To do all this, software is needed, and that is where you come in. Whatever skills you have - whether that's programming, product/project management, design ... there is a way for you to contribute.”

Endale said the aim was to create a dashboard to collect and disseminate Covid-19 information and do case tracking such as symptoms, breakdown of patient types and ways of monitoring fake news.

US broadcaster Voices of America said since putting up the post on Tuesday, Endale had recruited more than 500 volunteers with various skills in software programming, project management and design. 

Ethiopia has recorded nine confirmed cases of Covid-19.

A  senior researcher in the Africa division at rights group Human Rights Watch, Laetitia Bader, said millions of Ethiopians did not have access to information on Covid-19, due to a communications shutdown in the western Oromia region.

“Access to timely and accurate information is essential in a time of crisis, especially as Ethiopia simply does not have the infrastructure to cope with a Covid-19 outbreak," said Bader.

“Those with the privilege of access to radio and television may hear about Covid-19 risks, but not in great detail."

Meanwhile, the medical supplies donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma have arrived in Ethiopia where they will be distributed to other parts of the continent by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ma has donated 20 000 testing kits, 100 000 masks and 1 000 medical use protective suits and face shields for each of Africa's 54 countries.

African News Agency

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