How Abiri fights Covid-19 with analytics

Coronavirus has thrown up a high number of information providers, many of whom are merely working to make a living off the  situation.  During disease outbreaks, information dissemination is as important as life itself because people are easily swayed by what they read and see.

Out of fear and uncertainty, many people are bound to act irrationally during crisis situations, jeopardizing their health and well-being in the process. During Ebola epidemic, many Nigerians drank urine and salt water for fear of contracting the disease.   Because Nigeria lacked and still lacks data, it was difficult to ascertain the number of people that were really hurt by that practice.

As pointed out last week, quality and accurate information reduces speculations and fears which are often detrimental to health and well-being. In the age of fake news and misinformation, authentic information plays a vital role in ensuring that people do not panic, under-react or over-react.

In the last two months, several conspiracy theories have arisen concerning coronavirus, its pattern of spread and cure. There have been insinuations that coronavirus kills only whites but not black people. This has proven to be untrue, with the high number of deaths of black people in some parts of the United States and even Africa.

This is where Oluwatosin Niyi Abiri comes in. He is the co-founder of cMAPIT, a GIS and data visualisation software that helps to analyse geospatial data and its variables while also visualising them. Abiri uses the platform to analyse data variables concerning coronavirus outbreak and how it can be tracked and visualised to enable authorities to make accurate predictions.

He ensures that data is distilled and analysed to determine their accuracy or otherwise. One may wonder whether this is important. But it is becoming increasingly clear that a lot data are put out every day concerning Covid-19 spread, deaths, recoveries, infections and treatments. These need to be tracked to ensure that the public is not deceived or swayed into acting in panic.

“Time for public health professionals to get their own copy of GIS software to be able to create their own interactive maps to track coronavirus cases and treatment and to be able to also build useful GIS models,” Abiri wrote on his LinkedIn account.

The analytics is not just important for Covid-19, but also for other diseases. More so, it can be used by professionals from different fields of endeavour.

Field workers can create interactive maps with cMAPIT to add to reports, and government institutions can set up their own GIS unit.

The firm, founded in 2015, was described by the US Embassy Nigeria on its Facebook in 2017 as one of Nigeria’s leading startups focused on democratising GIS use for social development.

Abiri’s  role was said to include civic tech product designs, implementation and growth.

“His company has won three international awards and designed models to address urban sanitation issues with Lagos as a use case,” US Embassy Nigeria said.

“Niyi is passionate about low-cost GIS use in property rights and is currently building a simple tech tool to address conflicts,” the Embassy further said.

He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Transport Technology and Sustainability and Environmental Management. He is a Mandela Washington Fellow, and drives awareness in property rights protection for the poor. His start-up is among seven firms selected from over 500 applicants for Ventures Platform and LASRIC’s  $2,000 equity-free grant.

Abiri said on his Twitter handle that Cmapit’s software user acquisition has reached 71 countries in the last one year.

“Worthy to note that we are yet to spend a cent on Google ads, promoted it directly to Twitter,” he wrote.