World Health Organization and MIT Host “Hackathons” to Produce COVID-19 Solutions

Laura BednarUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Hackathon for Digital Solution to COVID-19

The concept of “Hackathons” came about as a way to combat social issues, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and other issues that could benefit from a digital solution. These types of solutions have found the security flaws in automated cars and mobile phones, but this recent project goes beyond consumer products. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are both hosting hackathons for the tech world brightest to come up with ways to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coordinating and Participating in a Hackathon

An MBA student at MIT started the institute’s hackathon as a way for those who are quarantined and staying at home due to shelter-in-place orders to help create ways to help healthcare organizations working to stop the spread of the virus. The student, Alfonso Martinez, encouraged stakeholders to join in the hackathon as the facilitators to getting an idea implemented into the healthcare system.

People from all different backgrounds participated with representation from 96 countries and there was representation from people in 49 of the 50 states in the US. The ten tracks that were available in the hackathon focused on issues such as social isolation, treating patients, and home patient triaging. One of the winning ideas was a tool to help those who have experienced domestic violence and are quarantined with their abuser.

In Africa, the World Health Organization held virtual hackathons with a final prize of $20,000 in seed money to make their solution a reality in fighting COVID-19. The United Nations agency completed their first hackathon challenge earlier in April and will be hosting a second in the coming weeks. The hackathon aims to offer tech applications to curb the spread of COVID-19, with a specific focus on Africa.

Virtual applicants were grouped in teams to work on WHO initiatives during the crisis such as infection prevention, case management, surveillance, and continuity of health services. The winning solution was a platform that maps Coronavirus test cases and classifies them according to risk level. It then offers data to national authorities so they can plan a response.

Responding in Any Way

South Africa is one of the countries that has been hit hardest by the virus and is in a government-enforced lockdown. Many other countries also have stay-at-home orders and have closed many public spaces. People are looking to advanced tech as one way to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and offer some solutions to help the healthcare workers on the front-lines.

While the technological solutions may not be a cure for the virus, they are bringing together communities throughout the world to work for the common good. Digital solutions are the most relevant ways for those staying inside to help, with their connected computers, televisions, and phones. SecureData is available to ensure you stay connected to create a solution for the greater good or to keep in touch with friends and family to maintain sanity while social distancing. We offer data recovery for damaged devices, hardware encrypted storage for remote workers, and digital forensics services if your device experiences a data breach or cyber attack. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to learn more about our products and services.