By Nadesh E
The University of Buea is amongst the 9 African Universities partnering with the York University in the $1.2million Project on “Predictive Modeling And Forecasting Of The Transmission Of COVID-19 In Africa Using Artificial Intelligence.”
UB’s involvement in the project to predict the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide modelling that will help national policymakers from across Africa manage the virus in real-time will help UB register its presence on the Applied Science Map, a UB Researcher, Prof Gideon Ngwa has said.
During a visit to the University on Buea for a chat with Prof Ngwa Gideon, a Researcher in the Application of Mathematics in Disease, CNA gathered that UB was chosen because of its strategic location and its output. Aside being in the host region of the Laboratory for Emerging Disease which is part of the Testing Centers for Covid-19 in the South West Region, it has well trained Man Power.
As a matter of fact, University of Buea has Mathematicians in the international community focusing on the Mathematical Modelling. Jude Kong, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Faculty of Science, and a member of the National COVID-19 Modelling Rapid Response Task Force at York, leading this interdisciplinary team of more than 50 researchers from key academic and government institutions in 9 African countries and Canada is a UB graduate.
Moreover, this lone English-speaking institution in predominantly French-speaking Central Africa has the man power to do the research and it is working with other universities on this collaborative venture with whom they will share resources, so the question of whether UB has the necessary resources to power the project is answered already
“We are so excited because it opens up lots of opportunities, eg students who do Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Engineers who are supposed to design gadgets for this project, if they put in their knowledge on this and is applied, the University will be known and Cameroon too will be known. It offers an interesting opportunity to further show we have a made-in-Buea kind of thing which is available for the rest of the world,” Prof. Ngwa said
However, though the number of Covid-19 cases in Africa is less than in the Wester world, the focus is on Africa because there is the need to watch out and work towards preventing the disease. There is the need to take part in the global effort to work against its spread. The evidence that show that people carry it should push us towards working to get a solution.
About the Project
This “Predictive modeling and forecasting of the transmission of COVID-19 in Africa using Artificial Intelligence, is one of nine projects selected for funding through the Global South AI4COVID Response
The project will also examine ways to address the spread of misinformation, fear, Fake News about COVID-19 prevention and treatment.
Researchers will develop models and simulations of COVID-19 that are relevant to specific cities and the areas adjacent to them. This will give municipal and national health authorities and policy-makers from across Africa the practical tools they need to suppress subsequent waves of infections or mitigate their impact. It will enable us to look at the effectiveness of public health interventions to determine if a particular intervention is appropriate, equitable, feasible and cost-efficient.