By Emma Okonji
The Interswitch Group has raised a total of N305 million towards the organisation’s COVID-19 response effort.
Employees of the organisation contributed a total of N75 million and the company augmented their efforts with the sum of N230 million.
This was part of a coordinated effort to complement ongoing public and private sector initiatives to address the spread and mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
Announcing the fund and how it will be deployed, the Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer at Interswitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, said the fund from Interswitch Group and its employees would be deployed to support the setting up and equipping of isolation centres, purchase of COVID-19 Test kits, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and related support to frontline heath workers, as well as the operation of foodbanks to cater to under-privileged communities in Lagos.
According to Elegbe, Interswitch’s Verve Brand sealed a partnership with the Lagos State Feeding Programme to provide raw food items for poor and vulnerable communities in Lagos.
The Group also supported ‘The Young President’s Association and the Lagos State government in setting up the already functional Eti-Osa Isolation centre in Lagos. The fund provided the Delta State Government with tropicalised ultra-low temperature (ULT) laboratory refrigerators that would be used for the storage of reagents and other laboratory consumables and COVID-19 test samples, pending when they will be transported to the designated COVID-19 Testing Laboratory in Irrua, Edo State.
In addition, Interswitch said it is finalising discussions with Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, Ogun and Oyo states in the area of providing test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers, Elegbe said.
Leveraging on its core responsibilities as a technology company and systems integrator, Elegbe added that Interswitch would be providing free technology for the use of governments and healthcare authorities.
Through its healthcare subsidiary, eClat Healthcare, Interswitch is also building a user-friendly, locally-nuanced software application for members of the public as a first-line intervention for the assessment of risk and pre-disposition to the novel Coronavirus infection.
The software platform analyses users’ information provided from answers to a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure, observed symptoms, health and travel history.
The initiative essentially serves to provide guided and up-to-date information on COVID-19, reduce panic, lower gross footfall to medical facilities, being a first-line checkpoint and ultimately reduce risk of exposure to health workers on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic.
Designed with an interactive interface, the solution facilitates further virtual consultation for infected persons, meaning infected persons can stay in their homes and access consultation as to whether their symptoms give cause for alarm or not.
The eClat Health-tech solution supporting State Governments’ response to COVID-19 has already been implemented in 20 states across the country. It is currently in use in Lagos State’s Eti-Osa Isolation centre, and in Edo, Ogun and Oyo States.