UNDP, EpiAFRIC and Nigeria Health Watch announce open call for submissions to #Hack4COVIDWaste, a hackathon to address the management and disposal of COVID-19 waste

September 13, 2021

13 September, Abuja – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with EpiAFRIC, Reboot and Nigeria Health Watch today announced an open call for submissions to the #Hack4COVIDWaste, a hackathon designed to develop solutions that will combat the issue of poor management and disposal of COVID-19 waste. The hackathon will be a hybrid in person-virtual event and will take place at Ventures Park in Abuja from October 15- 16 2021. Technology enthusiasts focused on social impact innovation are encouraged to apply online by 24 September, 2021 using the application portal.

Health facilities and COVID-19 centers in Nigeria are facing immense challenges in the disposal of infected masks, gloves and other protective equipment as well as vaccine related supplies. These facilities often have protocols for the safe disposal of biomedical waste, however the poor handling of this waste poses as a hazard for health workers, patients, visitors and communities. 

The #Hack4COVIDWaste hackathon will address this issue of COVID-19 biomedical waste management by aiming to create a platform for health workers to collaborate with developers, the business sector and technology practitioners to develop viable solutions that will contribute to sustainable COVID-19 waste management in Nigeria. 

All submissions will be reviewed and shortlisted teams will be invited to participate in the hackathon. The selected teams will be asked to take their ideas through a design thinking process and pitching sessions, followed by mentorship from industry experts to further refine their ideas. Teams will have the opportunity to pitch their COVID-19 waste management solution to a panel of judges with the potential of making it through to the second day of the hackathon. Successful selected teams will then pitch their refined ideas to a panel of judges for the final results.

According to William Tsuma, UNDP Senior Advisor and Programme Manager, proper disposal of COVID-19 waste is essential and needs to be addressed urgently. “Mismanagement of COVID-19 related waste can cause unforeseen knock-off effects on both human health and the environment. At the UNDP, we are pleased to support the #Hack4COVIDWaste to enable the development of homegrown innovative solutions, as the safe handling and disposal of waste is a vital element in an effective emergency response”.

Speaking about the hackathon, Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor, CEO EpiAFRIC stated that the partnership came at an appropriate time, particularly with the increasing number of COVID-19 patients and the recent arrival of vaccines. “It is of a great concern to see the growing amount of waste generated from COVID-19 response measures, such as used facemasks on the streets and syringes/needles improperly disposed in health centers. Therefore, this timely intervention, which will leverage existing talent in the innovation community here in Nigeria, will go a long way in helping to solve the management of COVID-19 waste”. 

In addition, shortlisted participants will benefit from mentoring, training, networking and other support to help move their solutions from ideas to workable solutions. 

About the UNDP

As the United Nations lead agency on international development, UNDP works in 170 countries and territories to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our work is concentrated in three focus areas; sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience.

About EpiAFRIC

EpiAFRIC is a globally competitive, efficient, transparent, and financially sustainable African health consultancy group. We provide a service of uncompromising competence, tenacious integrity, and an in-depth local understanding of the African context, enriched by a culture of delivery from our international experience and underpinned by a socially aware ethos. Our consulting work focuses on improving population health through expert research and data analysis, project design and evaluation, health communication, advocacy and training.

About Nigeria Health Watch

Nigeria Health Watch uses informed advocacy and communication to influence health policy and seek better health and access to healthcare in Nigeria. We seek to amplify some of the great work happening in the health sector, challenge the bad, and create a space for positive ideas and action. Through its various platforms, Nigeria Health Watch is a trusted source that provides informed commentary and in-depth analysis of health issues in Nigeria, always in good conscience. Learn more at www.nigeriahealthwatch.com

About Reboot

Reboot is a social impact firm dedicated to inclusive development and accountable governance. We help governments, foundations, and international organizations achieve their missions. We explore the origins of complex issues, design contextually appropriate interventions, bring these ideas to reality, and evaluate the results along the way. We incorporate institutional priorities and domain expertise to craft and implement interventions that are both innovative and practical.

For more information and questions about the hackathon please contact:

Media contact UNDP: Alison Clement

Phone number: +234 701 590 6558

Email: alison.clement@undp.org