Africa Takes on COVID-19

May 1-3, 2020

— Congratulations to the Winners —

© Copyright 2020

 

— Frequently Asked Questions —

— Agenda —

Friday, May 1

Event kickoff and team formation (Start time: 1 PM EST)


Saturday, May 2

Teams hone down on the problems, generate solutions, including proof of concepts, prototypes, and preliminary vision for execution


Sunday, May 3

Teams submit final presentation

Winners announced + next steps


GENERAL INFORMATION

WHAT IS THE AFRICA TAKES ON COVID-19 CHALLENGE?  

The Africa Takes on COVID-19 Challenge event is the third in a series of virtual hackathons. Over the course of two days, multi-disciplinary teams will collaborate to develop innovative solutions that can help address the COVID-19 crisis. We are focused on connecting teams with the tools and resources needed to develop mature solutions that can be implemented by our partners. After the Challenge, selected teams will have the opportunity to bring their solutions to life with the support of our partners.  

The next event is May 1-3, 2020. In this 48-hour virtual event, we will help tackle the most critical unmet needs caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa. 


WHERE IS THE CHALLENGE TAKING PLACE? 

This is a virtual event. Teams will work together throughout the two-day event using tools such as Zoom, Google Drive, WhatsApp, and/or Slack. 


WHEN WILL THE CHALLENGE TAKE PLACE?

The virtual challenge will take place Friday, May 1st through Sunday, May 3rd. 


HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED TO COMMIT?

The Challenge is a 48-hour sprint beginning on Friday afternoon (5/1) and ending on Sunday afternoon (5/3). Since the goal is to rapidly bring meaningful solutions to life, participants should expect to commit Friday evening, most of Saturday, and Sunday morning/early afternoon to the Challenge. Participants do not need to be available 24/7 for the duration of the event but should communicate their availability to team members.


WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE WEEKEND?

After the weekend, the best ideas and teams will have the opportunity to co-develop and implement their solution with the support of our partners.


WHAT DO WINNING TEAMS GET?

Winning teams will receive computing resources, organizational support and direct access to key partners to further develop, validate and implement solutions developed. 


WHO OWNS THE PRODUCT/SOLUTIONS TEAMS CREATE? 

In an effort to expedite the development and implementation of solutions developed in this event, all products and solutions developed in this event will be subject to the terms below:

The following terms apply to participation in this hackathon ("Hackathon"). Entrants may create original solutions, prototypes, datasets, scripts, or other content, materials, discoveries or inventions (a "Submission"). The Hackathon is organized by the MIT COVID19 Challenge: Africa Takes on COVID-19 organizing team. 

Entrants retain ownership of all intellectual and industrial property rights (including moral rights) in and to Submissions. 

As a condition of submission, Entrant grants the Hackathon Organizer, its subsidiaries, agents and partner companies, without restrictions, a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, adapt, modify, publish, distribute, publicly perform, create a derivative work from, and publicly display the Submission. 

Entrants provide Submissions on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties or conditions of TITLE, NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY, or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Entrant represents and warrants that, to the best of his or her knowledge, any work product is Entrant’s own original work and is not within the intellectual property rights of any third party, including any former or current employers. If you are unsure, you should consult any former or current employment agreement to which you are a party. Under no circumstances will Hackathon Organizer be liable to you or any third party for any damages, direct or otherwise, arising out of use of this hackathon work product.



PARTICIPATION 

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE? 

We are seeking a diverse group of participants. Participants ages 13+ of all experience levels, professional and academic backgrounds, and skill sets are welcome; what matters most is your commitment to making an impact and your willingness to collaborate. 


DO I HAVE TO HAVE A TECHNICAL OR CLINICAL BACKGROUND TO PARTICIPATE? 

No! Participants of all academic and professional backgrounds are welcome! Technical or medical experience is always helpful, but it is not required. 


DO I HAVE TO BE AN MIT STUDENT OR MIT AFFILIATED TO PARTICIPATE? 

No! Participants do not need to be affiliated with MIT, just need to be eager to take on COVID-19! As above, technical or medical experience is always helpful, but it is not required. 


WILL THE EVENT BE HELD IN ENGLISH? 

Yes, the event, along with the final presentations, will be held fully in English.  



HOW DO I APPLY? 

Please complete the application form found here

Applications are due by April 28th at 11:59PM EST. If you are applying with a team, all team members must submit individual applications


HOW ARE APPLICATIONS EVALUATED?

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring  a diversity of skill sets and demographics are represented among participants. You will receive an email from the Africa Takes on COVID-19 Challenge team by April 29th at 11:59pm EST with an update regarding your acceptance. 

 

HOW ARE TEAMS FORMED?

Participants will work together in teams of 2-7 members. We strongly recommend teams to have 5-7 members. If you already have a team in mind, you can indicate who you would like to work with when completing the participant application form (all team members must submit an individual application and we cannot guarantee that every team member will be accepted to the event). Individuals are also invited to participate; we will form teams based on interest and experience. 


DO I NEED TO COME WITH AN IDEA?

The Challenge is focused on solving some of the most pressing problems that are resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Participants are encouraged to come with these problems in mind, but you don’t need to have an answer in hand. You’ll work with teams to develop solutions that will have a meaningful impact on the COVID-19 crisis. 


WHAT TOOLS/RESOURCES WILL BE PROVIDED? 

Teams will be connected with technical resources, data sets, developer platforms and experienced mentors throughout the weekend to help them create, iterate, build, and develop solutions as quickly as possible.  


WILL YOU BE PROVIDING CERTIFICATES TO PARTICIPANTS?
Unfortunately, the organizing team cannot provide certificates to participants.



SUPPORT

HOW DO I BECOME A MENTOR? 

Please complete the application form found here.


WHAT IS EXPECTED OF MENTORS?

Mentors will work with teams based on their experience and expertise. Mentors do not need to be available for the entire weekend. Once mentors have been accepted, they will select a 2-3 hour shift at a time that best accommodates their schedule. 


HOW DOES MY ORGANIZATION/ COMPANY BECOME A PARTNER?

Thank you for your interest! Please email covid19africa@mit.edu. A member of the organizing team will contact you to determine how your organization’s expertise, resources, and reach can be most effectively utilized as part of this effort. 


MISCELLANEOUS

WHAT IF I HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ANSWERED? 

If you have additional questions or press inquiries, please email: covid19africa@mit.edu.

Build solutions for Africa in the COVID-19 crisis.

We are rallying the innovation community to develop solutions towards the most pressing issues related to the COVID-19 crisis in Africa. We want to channel and unlock untapped potential into positive and meaningful efforts to rapidly create and implement solutions that truly address the pressing unmet needs and problems of today. Our goal is for teams to design and build local solutions to these now global problems.

Strengthening the Health System 

How can you strengthen the health systems and health facilities that may face staff, supply, and resource shortages? 

Track A. Getting Patient Samples to Labs for Analysis: 

PoolParty (A_004) 
○ Problem: Pooled testing.
○ Solution: Pooled Testing for Safe Re-Opening of Quarantined Rural Communities.


PathPort (A_016)
○ Problem: Transporting samples between rural areas and labs often causes the samples to spoil, reducing capacity for testing for many diseases.
○ Solution: Re-purposing the systems for transporting cold vaccines on motorbikes and in vehicles in standard size boxes to do safely bring multiple patient samples back to labs. 


Covistics (A_024) 
○ Problem: Moving from one location to another in many African countries is difficult due to remote areas, poor roads. Transporting COVID-19 test samples from remote areas to labs is difficult to be done timely and securely to detect infection rate and increase the testing rate.
○ Solution: A multimodal transportation system utilizing local community members to quickly and safely deliver samples from remote areas to labs empowering local people, infrastructure.


Track B. Strengthening Referral Systems: 

Connecting Africa (B_028) 
○ Problem: In the frontline communities of Africa, there is a lack of case identification and burden building on the health system, partly due to a disconnect between communities and existing structures.
○ Solution: Our solution leverages the established systems of Gatekeepers, such as HIV peer educators— and Influencers, such as village heads— and connects them to the health system through an app we're developing. 


COVcast (B_047) 
○ Problem: Covid-19 is raising in Tanzania, a country with low internet penetration, few doctors and low detection rate.
○ Solution: Building an efficient system for tracking COVID and referrals, built upon current technologies adopted in Africa. 


Channel B Track 3 (B_003) 
○ Problem: How might we create a culturally-acceptable response system for communities to easily communicate their symptoms, and identify the points of care available?
○ Solution: The ConnectCare system leverages existing referral frameworks, infrastructure and government collaboration to create an automated multi-channel communication.


Track C. Empowering the Health Workforce: 

CoWell (C_10) 
○ Problem: Informing and motivating healthcare workers facing burnout due to limited time and resources.
○ Solution:CoWell, a platform accessible from urban and rural areas either online or offline, to share information and motivational content with healthcare providers facing burnout and mental challenges. 


CHIIN (C_034) 
○ Problem: Ineffective information distribution hinders pandemic responses at the local level.
○ Solution: Our solution a SMS-based platform for COVID-related information dissemination to healthcare workers. 


Co-Radio (C_044) 
○ Problem: Healthcare workers in Africa are not always able to access the latest and accurate information about Covid 19.
○ Solution: Deliver meaningful COVID19 content to Healthcare workers in Africa from healthcare experts globally via radio & podcasts. 


Track D. Readiness for Potential Surges: 

Moyo (D_007) 
○ Problem: What do Africa's Community Health Workers Need to fight COVID-19 surge periods in resource-restricted settings?
○ Solution: Moyo bag, a low-cost, low-tech solution for Community Health Workers. The multi-use bag contains educational materials for CHW in those countries to disseminate information and prepare their communities for surge periods. 


Sanipak (D_014) 
○ Problem: Providers in low-resource African countries lack fast and reliable access to clean N95 masks.
○ Solution: Our solution is SANIPACK, a portable, personal, and battery-powered UV N95 sterilizer that provides fast, cost-effective, and reliable access to clean N95 masks. 


Covid Care (D_077) 
○ Problem: Surge readiness in Ghana.
○ Solution: Covid-care mobile app utilizing geospatial technology.


Track E. Sustaining Primary Care During COVID-19: 

Challengers (E_006) 
○ Problem: Travel to clinics by chronic patient increases risk of COVID-19 without change of medication.
○ Solution: Enabling contact list interaction and eliminating travel for patients with chronic diseases in South Africa.


Birthing Bridge (E_010) 
○ Problem: Sustaining maternal and newborn primary healthcare in a resource-constrained, high-density urban setting in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.
○ Solution: Using a text and voice platform for dissemination of primary healthcare information, enabling self-triage and leveraging expertise of volunteer networks and existing m-Health platforms for sustaining maternal and newborn health.


Helima Health (E_020) 
○ Problem: The local cities in the state of Oyo, Nigeria are not receiving the data driven care they need during the pandemic, placing chronic care patients at higher risk which is a systemic problem that is not limited to Nigeria, but is reflected throughout Africa, that needs a solution now and moving forward to improve patient outcomes.
○ Solution: Our solution to improve clinical outcomes leverages an app with an AI powered vitals scanners allowing primary healthcare centers to make evidenced based decisions during the telehealth visit and appropriately route patients to an on-site primary care facility, a secondary hospital or to a pharmacy for their prescription.


Track F. Energizing Healthcare: 

PrioOne (F_007) 
○ Problem: There is no centralized data available to guide public and private policy to rapidly expand healthcare facility electrification.
○ Solution: PrioOne is an open source data platform that will consolidate data on the location of healthcare facilities, the reliability of their energy connections, and their proximity to potential COVID hotspots in order to empower stakeholders to efficiently, discreetly, and rapidly increase energy capacity based on location-specific urgency of need. 


SCADA for Africa (F_011) 
○ Problem: Rolling blackouts cause preventable hospital admissions.
○ Solution: Engage the community in voluntarily cutting power.


Sollux (F_055) 
○ Problem: Finding a fixable, scalable and sustainable solution to power for medical facilities across African countries.
○ Solution: We are building a digital cooperative of regional and international financiers for small to large scale renewable energy projects, targeted towards equipping communities and healthcare facilities with emergency and sustainable power.


Flattening the Curve

42% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $1.90 per day. How can vulnerable populations protect themselves from the effects of COVID-19?

Track G. Preventing Community Transmission:

Testing for the Future (G_006)
Problem: Ineffective temperature screening method that is in place i.e use of hand-held guns.
○ Solution: Using thermal drones to detect and capture spiked temperatures in place of hand-held guns. 


Team Ubuntu (G_012)
Problem: How do we engage communities in densely populated urban communities where social distancing is not possible, in order to effectively communicate simple hygiene practices (e.g. covering mouth and nose, sneezing into the armpit, etc.).
○ Solution: We have built an SMS based influencer identification and communication system to include all stakeholders (public health officials, local community members and community influencers). 


WaterWorks (G_021)
○ Problem: Access to hand-washing in Africa is limited due to lack of facilities and water resources, which limits preventative measure in times of pandemic.
○ Solution: Portable, low-cost, efficient hand washing system that is easily scalable across socio-demographic groups in Africa.


Track H. Production of Essential Supplies: 

HV20 (H_009) 
○ Problem: Shortage of ventilators
○ Solution: Design, develop and manufacture a low cost ventilator. 


Barakoa (H_036) 
○ Problem: N95 shortage
○ Solution: Vacuum Formed N95 


Ripple (H_037) 
○ Problem: Vulnerable populations in Africa are especially impacted by limited PPE supply due to COVID-19, while issues regarding environmental sustainability continue to be ignored.
○ Solution: Our team is repurposing the supply chains of recycling plants and organizations on the ground in Nigeria to mass-produce sustainable, inexpensive PPE produced from plastic waste products, all the while employing low-income citizens and cleaning up the environment.


Track I. Enabling Work and Supporting Livelihoods:  

Save the Now (I_005) 
○ Problem: During the complete or partial lockdown these vulnerable workforce has been exposed to extreme situations where their small daily wage is not attainable any more.
○ Solution: Voucher/Coupon platform that allows community members to contribute to their members in distress by pre-buying their services/products during the time of the lockdown. 


Sebenza (I_018) 
○ Problem: Covid-19 has left informal workers without a safety net across Africa, as they've been displaced or seen incomes significantly reduced.
○ Solution: Sebenza matches displaced informal job seekers with newly created jobs through a simple USSD Platform.


Usawa (I_043) 
○ Problem: Shutting down informal markets is not a feasible option to stem the spread of COVID-19, and therefore, we need a novel solution that allows people to make a living and maintain social distancing.
○ Solution: To reduce infection risk in the markets, we propose a density feedback system,and depending on the local context, customer density will be estimated through drones, cell density, or ticketing.


Track J. Combating Misinformation: 

VetAfrica (J_003)
○ Problem: We're looking to address the problem of misinformation regarding Covid19 among vulnerable people who do not have access to the internet in Uganda.
○ Solution: We're building an AI Chatbot with USSD functionality which would be easily accessible to vulnerable people who do not have internet enabled phones. 


AltLearn (J_023)
○ Problem: Children under 15 in Africa reprensent 41% of the whole population but are not targeted by Covid19 communication resulting to them being infected and infect people as they dont know the barrier gestures.
○ Solution: We are developing audio-enabled, low literacy, written content to help target children under 15 in Africa in order to provide them trusted accurate information related to COVID-19.


MLP Rocket (J_042)
○ Problem: African smartphone users between the ages of 39 and 65 need a way to verify information that they receive and share concerning the prevention, management, and statistics of the COVID-19 pandemic.
○ Solution: A platform that combats misinformation by checking the accuracy of information agains
.