NC telecom company owner, a Sierra Leone native launches Ebola App
A Sierra Leone native and North-Carolina-based telecom company owner has developed an Ebola app to inform expats and others globally about the health epidemic plaguing Sierra Leone and the region.
Al Turay, president and owner of Raliegh, North Carolina telecom company Teleficient, in the North Carolina Research Triangle Park says the app pulls news from news websites worldwide discussing eBola and delivers it to app users.
It’s a one stop shop.
Currently, an estimated close to 3,000 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gunea (1 in Nigeria and 1 in Senegal) have died form the highly contagious disease, marked by high fever, vomiting and shakes.
“It’s my only contribution to my country to overcome this disease, “ said Turay, who has operated his 6-employee company in North Carolina for over a decade after earning Bachelors and Master’s degrees in engineering management and information technology.
Currently, the app, which Turay designed and coded himself, can be downloaded and installed from the Google Play store for Android phones.
“I’ve submitted the app for Apple’s strict review and processing but I anticipate it will become available for iPhone and iPad’s by Monday or Tuesday,” Turay says.
In addition to being a one-stop information source, the app is also interactive in that it allows Sierra Leoneans on the ground to upload images of treatment facilities, family members dealing with the disease, community and civic organizations there working on training residents on how to curb the spread of the disease.
Daily, the Ebola app sends updates on statistics about deaths, and other facts from the Sierra Leone Minister of Health and Sanitation’s website.
It also includes prevention tips and videos of speeches from the nations’ leaders on what they are doing to curb and fight the pandemic.
Finally, the app provides a face and personalizes the various Sierra Leonean doctors that are fighting the disease and dying from it. It includes features about each doctor, so that in the tragic event they lose their lives, they would be more than just a mention on a nightly newscast.
It’s about putting a face and story to those on the front line, Turay added.
Combined with the interactive piece, the app could do wonders to provide a different, on the ground, grassroots, citizen journalist perspective to the crisis.
It can make it more real and help to invoke more sympathy to what people there are struggling with and overcoming on a daily basis.
Turay said ultimately, he hopes to travel to Sierra Leone to train the youth on developing apps that can help their nation.
Although Sierra Leone’s electricity infrastructure is unreliable, one thing it does has is a very high and robust wireless phone adoption. In 2008, 40% of Sierra Leoneans citizens had a mobile phone and surely that number has grown exponentially by now. The United Nations estimate that 6 out of the world’s 7 billion people own mobile phones which means that more people own phones than toilets.
Mobile apps are connecting the world and changing lives in the process.