SACEMA takes on COVID-19 virtually

“Africa takes on COVID-19”. This was the call to action for the MIT COVID-19 Challenge held from Friday 1 May till Sunday 3 May 2020. Zinhle Mthombothi, a SACEMA junior researcher, and Larisse Bolton, a SACEMA postdoctoral research fellow, took part in this virtual ideathon, aimed at developing innovative solutions for the African COVID-19 crisis. Their teams were tasked to address the issue surrounding the production of essential supplies in a creative and novel way. Teams were comprised of members from all across the world, with a large representation from the African continent. The weekend was filled with engaging discussions surrounding the specific proposed solutions and paths of implementation for the issues, as well as informative mentoring opportunities involving experts from diverse backgrounds. Although the time zone differences within the teams made sleep a scarcity, the experience was incredible. Working in teams with members not only from different countries, but also different fields all driven to help Africa navigate this pandemic, was truly exceptional. The collaborative spirit reflected during this weekend was inspirational, and the solutions proposed were practical and relevant within the African COVID-19 context. Watch this space. These innovative minds are on a mission!

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Zinhle Mthombothi (top right) and Larisse Bolton (bottom right)

DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis