June 2, 2020

AIMS Rwanda Alumni uses science and technology to combat COVID19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) was founded in 2003 by Professor Neil Turok, with an aim of training young African scientists to develop expertise in solving Africa’s grand challenges. So far, out of the 1900 alumni, 70% of them have remained on the African soil and are working towards solving the existing problems on the continent.

Recently, Africa, and the rest of the world faced a pandemic that needed urgent reaction from leaders, researchers, inventors and scientists. Some of our alumni have joined the taskforce and worked tirelessly to fight against the virus.

Albert Agisha, an AIMS Rwanda alumnus and native of the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) has joined the efforts to combat the virus in his home country using science and technology. He joined a team, covid19drc.com, where he is using his skills and expertise to contribute towards combatting the virus.

The team was founded by Professor Jonathan Esole, a Congolese mathematician working on the geometry of string theory. He is also a former Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Fellow, a program that helps African scientists to advance their careers and inspire the next generation of African innovators.  Other members include Joséphine Ndeze, new NEF ambassador, 2019-2021 for the DRC and Raissa Malu is the previous NEF Ambassador for 2017-2018.

The organization started first by producing a user-friendly dashboard that provides awareness on the pandemic, after which they advanced to manufacturing transparent plastic masks meant to cover one’s entire face to avoid contamination from the virus. This is an essential tool for all people whose jobs require to be close to probably contaminated people, especially medical practitioners, police staff, etc.

Since droplets from the mouth and nose can contain the virus that causes covid19, the anti-projection face shields provide an extra layer of protection to doctors, nurses, and first responders. With the pandemic, it was quickly evident that every country should invest in the sustainable production of personal protective equipment.

Albert Agisha is currently the team representative in South-Kivu and is also in charge of the production of the protective Face anti-projection Shields using 3D Printing technology.

“Through AIMS I was able to meet with Professor Jonathan Esole,  through ‘The Future of Science’ conference that took place at AIMS Rwanda in 2019,”says Agisha.

The conference was as a means of bringing together top researchers from around the world to interact with postgraduate students and young African researchers.

“AIMS allowed me to be part of a pan-African and international ecosystem that challenged me and excited my curiosity every day.  It gave me the chance to turn my dreams into reality and made my ambitions grow as I realized the scope of possibilities in front of me,” says Agisha. “I particularly appreciate learning how to solve problems efficiently and under time pressure, and I was able to meet a vibrant network of extraordinary people in a wide range of domains from academia to the business and corporate world,” he says.

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