Villgro Kenya, a healthcare-focused incubator and investor, has joined the growing list of investors who are seeking to fund startups with innovative ideas that can help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
The funder is urging startups to develop innovations that can be scaled across Africa in the wake of the contagious disease.
To this end,Villgro Kenya has created an initiative to collate innovative products that will actualise the set goal. Startups have until the 15th of April to send an email with a pitch for the initiative.
Villgro Kenya said that a disruptive idea is urgently needed, especially now that healthcare professionals are projecting that the current lockdowns across Africa might be extended.
“Public health experts predict that social distancing with periods of total lockdown may continue for the next 18 months before a vaccine is ready. Furthermore, the outbreak could come in waves rather than in one single event,” Villgro said.
In Nigeria, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has hinted that the 14-day lockdown could be extended. The country is still trying to trace over 6000 contact persons of confirmed cases. So far, Nigeria has recorded over 2oo confirmed cases of Covid-19. New cases have continued to be discovered almost on a daily basis in the country..
What Villgro Kenya wants from startups: The funder is requestimg for applications from startups that can develop any solution that will complement the efforts of medical personnel who are combating the Coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
Information made available by Villgro Kenya said that startups who are interested will have to focus on registry-based follow-up of critically ill patients and emergency response. Other forms of innovations favoured by Villgro Kenya include medical devices and commodities such as quality affordable ventilators, sanitisers, and oxygen concentrators.
Also on the preferred list of Innovation are respirator masks and drug delivery systems, risk communication, social dynamics and public health response, and supporting healthcare system response.
A triangular approach to tackle COVID-19: The firm said countries would have to depend on homegrown solutions.
“Countries should, therefore, prepare for a far-reaching health, economic and social crisis. Developing countries will need to develop homegrown solutions given that the traditional crisis response actors are focused on the domestic front.”
The funder, which was created by India-based Villgro Innovations Foundation, eyes a collaborative effort between various governments, the academia, and the private sector that support local innovations that assist in testing, treatment, and monitoring of Coronavirus patients.
Tech investors joining fight: Villgro Kenya is the the latest investor pledging to support startups with solutions to mitigate the Coronavirus outbreak. Nairametrics had previously reported that Antler, Cairo Angels and Microtraction have offered various financial support for startups innovating in line with COVID-19 demands.
Aside from these tech-funders, other players in the private sector have also been raising funds to support the fight against COVID-19. Banks, telecoms, cable tv operators and other companies are leading the fight through funds and creation of testing and isolation centres.