Today, 11th August 2020, marks another landmark achievement in the mission of the Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN) Africa to FAIRify COVID-19 data in Africa. In a two-hour intensive workshop hosted by Charles Kahiro and Ivy Wachara of Ravel Works Africa and witnessed by data stewards and observers from Africa and Europe, the VODAN Africa team successfully deployed the third machine-actionable FAIR Data Point (FDP) at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai, (IBBUL), Niger State, North-Central Nigeria.
The installation and deployment were carried by Elijah Joseph from IBBUL under the technical supervision of Mariam Basajja, the Technical Coordinator VODAN Africa and a PhD student at Leiden University. System support was provided by Oluwole Afolabi, a web expert from Kampala International University.
According to the Head of Department of Computer Science, IBBUL, Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, who also leads the VODAN Africa project at the university, the management of IBBUL has demonstrate total buy-in by making provisions for all the necessary infrastructure needed for the smooth operationalization of the FDP. He further reiterated the efforts and partnerships by the university towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“IBBUL was part of the state management and COVID control in Niger State Nigeria. We were the first institution to expose the dashboard of COVID-19. The management of the university has promised to liaise with the state government and the Ministry of Health on other focal hospitals to use for the VODAN Africa project” said Dr Abdullahi.
These accomplishments were among the set objectives of VODAN Africa which include preparing health ministries and institutions for publishing data that are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR).
The Virus Outbreak Data Network is a collaboration between universities, health regulatory ministries and foremost Artificial Intelligence hubs in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. Members of the Africa Implementation network include; Kampala International University, Leiden University and other universities, Addis Ababa University and Mekelle University in Ethiopia, Université de Sousse in Tunisia, Tangaza University in Kenya, Great Zimbabwe University in Zimbabwe and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Olabisi Onabanjo University and Data Science in Nigeria
The next VODAN Africa COVID-19 FAIR Data Point will be installed at Mekelle University and Addis Ababa University, both in Ethiopia. This was made known by Prof Francisca Oladipo, the Executive Coordinator VODAN Africa. “We have enjoyed our stay in the West of Africa, now we are coming back to East Africa and the next stop is Ethiopia”. She said while thanking everyone who was present at the real-time installation session.
Obinna Osigwe is the Digital Marketing Strategist at Kampala International University, Uganda