techspert.io calls for greater democratisation of Covid-19 knowledge to aid emerging economies
Cambridge AI company techspert.io has called for the greater democratisation of Covid-19 knowledge around the world to support emerging markets.
It launched a study in May that applied its deep search technology to highlight the global imbalance in access to specialist knowledge.
The company, based in Burleigh Street, used a timelapse graphic to visualise the spread of confirmed cases alongside the increase in scientific institutions turning their attention to the virus. It demonstrates the inequality in regional access to the latest medical insights.
It also carried out one-to-one interviews with frontline healthcare professionals who have an active role in handling Covid-19 to give insights into testing, treatment and control of the virus in emerging market communities.
Every country in Africa has confirmed cases of Covid-19 and the World Health Organisation expects the continent to prepare for 250 million cases overall.
But techspert.io’s study found very little identifiable academic expertise on the subject, and only four institutions outside of the Middle East conducting Covid-19 research on the continent.
In South America, only six institutions are known to be working on Covid-19, despite Brazil recording more than one millions cases.
Graham Mills, co-founder and managing director, said: “Some of the world’s poorest countries are still to reach the centre of their pandemic when the harshest impact will be felt.
“While the Covid-19 spotlight is moving on to recovery in many countries, this is the time when emerging economies are in most urgent need of attention and support. We want to highlight the real impact of Covid-19 on community health and wellbeing across these developing nations and call on the scientific community to democratise access to the latest insight and research.”
Its interviews have uncovered the enormous challenges in the battle against the pandemic. Issues raised included the rising cost of medication and scarcity of healthcare provisions, the diversion of attention and funding from other life-threatening diseases, and the challenge of installing virus control measures in communities fearful of job loss and poverty.
In one interview conducted in April, Dr RichardFredrick Okello, of Uganda, said: “The mobilisation of resources has been tough. In the past month, all resources have been diverted towards the containment of Covid-19. In fact, guidance had to be issued by the Ministry of Health on how to provide HIV and TB treatment amid the pandemic to ensure that patients with other infectious diseases are not neglected.”
Graham added: “The study is an effort to return the spotlight onto the healthcare challenges that emerging economies are facing as Covid-19 continues to spread. It outlines the real impact of Covid-19 on these countries’ healthcare resources and community welfare and illustrates how improved access to knowledge and expertise can make an enormous difference.”
The company’s AI-powered platform connects organisations with experts to provide primary insights.