May 14th, 2020. Dakar, Senegal— Senegalese developers are throwing themselves at the growing coronavirus problem with inventions such as automatic sanitizer, applications, and medical robots. Four, young developers in the capital Dakar have turned their technical skills toward easing pressure on Senegalese families — and they are already in talks with leaders over some of their innovations.
The outbreak has already begun to affect life and business in Senegal. With over 2,000 cases in the country, even some doctors have limited their working hours. Four software developers: Cheikh Hassane Cisse, Saliou Ndao, Mamadou Seck, and Cheikh Tidiane Sall, working as software developers, became concerned about their community and the rising fears.
“As the cases continued to swell, we believed that we had to find a way to make an impact given our skills,” said Cisse. “We wanted to create a user-friendly space that families could go to for live feedback on current cases throughout Senegal,” Cheikh Hassane Cisse goes on to describe.
The website, www.prevcovid19.com, allows visitors to to see where coronavirus patients were confirmed to have the disease, along with a breakdown by neighborhood. The person using the site can also see the number of patients who are currently being treated, as well the number of death. “The site’s most useful tool is the ability to ask medical doctors a question if you are feeling ill,” said Sall. “Rather than go to the hospital, or sit at home with doubts about your symptoms, you can chat with a doctor and get a better picture of what’s going on,” explains Ndao.
As the cases in Senegal continue to rise, the four are in constant communication with Senegal’s health administration to address any misinformation about the number of cases. Seck, one of the developers, said they made this site because he found the government data hard to understand. Although health officials release locations that show where coronavirus patients have been, the information isn’t very visual.
Currently, the four are working on an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data system or USSD, to reach the most rural populations in Senegal through text messaging.
“We think that this platform can prevent the spread of coronavirus patients by advising people not to go to certain places … we feel proud,” said Ndao.
For more information, visit www.precovid19.com.