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York University Partners With Cameroon, Other African Countries To Fight COVID-19

Cameroon is part of a team to benefit from a 1.2 million dollars budget in an initiative spearheaded by the Canada based York University, partnering with other Africa countries to help control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and provide measures to help these Africa Countries curb the spread of the virus. Cameroonian born, 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 the interdisciplinary team of more than 50 researchers from key academic and government institutions in nine African countries and Canada, has told Cameroon News Agency that they will work with partner University of Buea to:

•Apply Artificial Intelligence to develop a data-driven COVID-19 monitoring dashboard with advanced visualization and analytics tools that will assist policymakers across Cameroon.
• Determine initial disease spread characteristics within communities in Cameroon prior to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) introduction.
• Employ mathematical models to examine NPI effectiveness, in particular the effect of a home quarantine policy on the epidemic development in Cameroon.
• Determine factors affecting NPI effectiveness across Cameroon
• Determine NPI effects on healthcare demand, and determine the healthcare resources that are needed to provide medical treatment during COVID-19 consecutive outbreaks in Cameroon (e.g. personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators).
• Determine the effects of vaccination on the NPI uptake needed for post-vaccine waves of infection across Cameroon.
• Develop an overarching economic-epidemiological model for scientists and policy-makers in the context of Cameroon.
• Build spatial disease spread models for the outbreak of COVID-19 at a localised level to model the effects of informal settlements and varying social distancing practicalities in townships, performance of hotspot analysis, and the identification of vulnerable areas.
• Engage the public and scientific community through stakeholders forums, Positions Papers, Briefs and Proceedings, webinars, seminars, and scientific journal publications and acknowledge Canada’s International Development Research Center Grant No. 109559-001 on each outing.

“We are currently in the process of setting up a centre for disease modelling at the University of Buea to start working on that, ” Jude Kong said.

The York Media relation reports on the program stating quoting the Vice chancellor of York University, Rhonda Lenton saying that “This timely collaboration brings together York’s research strengths in disease modelling, global health, artificial intelligence and emergency management, with African AI and modelling expertise. It will allow our researchers to access the practical skills, perspectives and sensitivity that only local organizations can provide, enhancing outcomes and creating positive change in local communities.”

According to York Media Relations, the project known as Predictive modelling and forecasting of the transmission of COVID-19 in Africa using Artificial Intelligence, will receive more than $1.2 million in funding from the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC). It is one of nine projects selected for funding through the Global South AI4COVID Response Program, focused on low and middle-income countries.

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