Author(s): UN Global Pulse, University of North Carolina, Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, Boston University
The use of technology has been ubiquitous in efforts to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In this perspective, we review technologies and new approaches developed at the start of the pandemic; efforts earmarked by a flexible approach to problem solving, local tech entrepreneurship, and swift adoption of technology. We performed a systematic review of the use of technology during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in most African countries. We identified relevant articles by searching for mentions of technology, COVID-19, and specific country names. Articles were included if they specifically mentioned the use of technology or novel innovations in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an African country. The article search was conducted in August and included articles published between January and August 2020. We retrieved articles from journals, trusted news, government, and organization websites on Google, Google Scholar and PubMed. A total of 80 articles were retained and categorized under Disease Prevention (19 articles), Disease Surveillance (30 articles), and Clinical Supplies and Management (31 articles). African nations used technology and innovative techniques to manage patients, monitor cases and disseminate information to counter the spread of COVID-19. The nature and outcomes of these efforts sometimes differed in Africa compared to other regions of the world due to its unique challenges and opportunities.