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Thursday, October 1, 2020

Deputy Information Minister Launches Sierra Leone’s Covid-19 Response Hub Portal

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By Bampia James Bundu: Strategic Communications Unit, Ministry of Information and Communications

The Deputy Minister of information and Communications, Madam Mamadi Gobeh-Kamara, has launched the Sierra Leone Covid-19 Response Hub Portal, a centralized public dashboard with near-real-time updates of containment effort and spatial information on critical resources.

The virtual launch took place in the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communications at Youyi building in Freetown on Friday 7th August 2020.

Madam Mamadi Gobeh-Kamara noted that the overarching vision of the government is to create a digitally inclusive society and economy empowered by digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

According to her, the creation of the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation and the appointment of Dr. Moinina Sengeh as the Chief innovation Officer to lead it, is an expression of President Bio’s commitment towards creating a digitally inclusive society for all Sierra Leoneans.

She informed that the Sierra Leone Covid-19 Hub Portal was developed in collaboration with the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, Statistics Sierra Leone, and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from ESRI, GRID3, and GPSDD to serve as a centralized public dashboard with near-real-time updates of containment effort and spatial information on critical resources.

She expressed government’s appreciation for the material and technical support provided through the new partnership with ESRI, GRID3, and other stakeholders, and looked forward to more productive and lasting partnerships.

The Deputy Minister maintained that the Hub will add a growing number of digital tools leveraged by the government to tackle the immediate COVID-19 threat and beyond through an informed populace and to present data transparently and concisely to allow for effective decision-making and resources allocation.

The Hub, she furthered, provides analyzed data on confirmed cases, recoveries, deaths and other indicators that meet public interest through a dashboard that gives a quick snapshot of the current Covid-19 situation along with spatial information on health facility access, risk and vulnerability, population estimates, settlement, points of interest like markets, libraries, schools, water source site stations, tourist and accommodation, and post offices, among others.

She encouraged all to make use of the Hub Portal as it will give them Informed data on the country’s response.

The Director of DSTI (Directorate of Science Technology and Innovation), Madam Michaela Mackay, stated that the vision of DSTI is to use science, technology, and innovation to help government deliver on its national development plan and to establish SIerra Leone as an innovative nation where agile, exploratory and research-driven start-ups and initiatives led by young people can experiment at the appropriate scale, and within the right economic, policy and regulatory framework.

She commended the Ministry of Information and Communications for the move and also thanked the players who worked hard to achieve the goal.

The Director General of the Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), did a presentation on ‘Pushing the Boundaries on Data Liberalization’ while the Statistician General, Prof. Osman Sankoh, spoke on ‘Using Spatial Data for the Decision Making Process’.

The Director of Programs, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, also presented on the theme ‘Data 4 now: Building Africa’s Resilience in Partnership with UNECA’.

Presentations were done by other personalities on similar issues.

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