MINISTER of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami has called on the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and other agencies to source research grants to support digital innovation on COVID-19.
Pantami spoke in a virtual demonstration of NITDA’s Innovation Challenge on COVID-19’s possible solutions monitored in Abuja. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the challenge was targeted at leveraging on using indigenous innovative technology to address COVID-19 pandemic.
NAN also reports that the NITDA committee on COVID-19 Innovation challenge was set up in April 3 and they received 1,519 applications, while the best five were selected to demonstrate their solutions.
The first three successful applications were awarded and they include Algorizmi Health, an application that would address scaling up the availability of ventilators as first position.
Smart Disinfection Chambers, an application on smart tunnel for disinfection of perdons entering a location stood out at second position. MyClinic.ng, an application that enhances remote patient management took the third position.
The solutions were accessed based on potential impact of innovation with regard to COVID-19, adaptability, scalability, creativity and presentation skills.
President Muhammadu Buhari, last year, launched the National Digital Economy Strategy expected to be implemented between 2020 and 2030.
The minister said part of the strategy was to focus on promoting research and innovation locally.
“NITDA, Nigerian Communications Commission, other parastatal agencies under the ministry should look into their budget and find a way of raising research grants for the support of innovative ideas.
“Their support should be basically on digital solutions because we need to promote research to eradicate COVID-19 in Nigeria, Africa and globally,” Pantami said.
He awarded the first three successful entries N1,000,000, N750,000, N500,000, and urged NITDA to facilitate incubation of the solutions for COVID-19.
Pantami urged NITDA to facilitate a presentation of the solutions to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for possible ways of leveraging them to address the pandemic in the country.