BCtA member companies are facing the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic head-on.
As spread of the COVID-19 outbreak unfolded, the BCtA community shifted into overdrive to help fight the virus. This week alone our members stepped up with innovative solutions. From offering open source software for healthcare workers and local governments to ensuring food supply chains are not disrupted to continuing to produce essential goods and services for vulnerable communities – the private sector is adapting to changing circumstances and assisting with solutions to fight it.
In the meanwhile, BCtA continues to work with member companies on how best to cope with the pandemic, including developing guidelines on how to engage with the BOP during this crisis. We are also working to better understand the bottlenecks companies are facing through surveys with our members. The BCtA is a multilateral alliance supported by the UNDP in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Workforce protection Health social enterprise ClickMedix has adapted their COVID-19 response to the needs of the different communities they serve in. They have deployed screening and contact tracing options via their telemedicine platform in Bolivia, Uganda, South Africa, U.S. and the U.K., and have integrated the use of using multi-channel communications to contact patients in the easiest way possible for them – whether its SMS, WhatsApp or Chatbots, explained CEO Ting Shih.
Their COVID-19 solution has also been deployed to provide health services to a workforce of 100,000 mining employees in South Africa, including screenings, contact tracing high-risk patients and a 14-day auto-monitoring program for all employees.
In Uganda, the company has partnered with local enterprise Healthy Entrepreneurs to run call-centres for screening and answering questions from worried patients, while in Bolivia their response has been to work with their partners on the ground in providing health care access.
Supply chain resilience
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues challenges are also increasing in accessing goods as supply chains get disrupted, including menstrual products.
“Periods don’t pause for pandemics,” says BCtA member company AFRIpads, which is why they will continue to manufacture their reusable menstrual kits in Uganda to ensure they are available to those who need them the most.
“Basic health and dignity are more important than ever,” stated the company, and for many girls and women, their ability to manage menstruation in a dignified and safe way is in jeopardy.
Hence, in this uncertain time, the company is offering “much-needed protection and peace of mind,” to make these essential goods available while operating their factory in line with government protocols and WHO guidelines.
Designing portable ventilators
Healthcare solutions company and BCtA member Medtronic is making the design specifications for its portable ventilator available for anyone to use in a bid to increase options for rapid ventilator manufacturing as the world battles COVID-19.
The ventilator is compact and lightweight – this portability allows it to be used in many different healthcare environments.
“This ventilator’s ability to be used in a range of care settings, as well as its technology and design, make it a solid ventilation solution for manufacturers, inventors, start-ups and academic institutions seeking to quickly ramp up ventilator design and production,” said Medtronic.
Local solutions ease burden on health services
A Nigerian state government has used BCtA member Dimagi’s open-source mobile platform, CommCare, to share vital information amongst health care workers in efforts to contain the virus.
CommCare has been offered for free to support governments with their COVID-19 response by Dimagi.
The app, developed for Ogun State by local business Instrat Global Health Solutions using Dimagi’s template, helps primary health centres and local governments with risk assessments of patients, helping lessen the burden on higher-level government health services.
SAP is offering businesses and individuals several solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including one focused on easing disruptions in supply chains. The company has made their SAP Ariba Discovery free and open to everyone for three months, allowing buyers to post their immediate sourcing needs and suppliers to respond with what they can deliver.
“This commitment will help buyers and suppliers connect quickly and effectively, and minimize disruption caused by shipment delays, capacity issues, and increased consumer demand in times of crisis,” said the BCtA member company in a statement.