An integrated payment and digital commerce group, Interswitch Group, has raised N305 million towards its response on COVID-19.
Out of the cash, employees of the firm raised N75 million while the company augmented their efforts with N230 million.
This is part of a coordinated effort to complement ongoing public and private sector initiatives to address the spread and mitigate the negative impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The fund is to support the setting up and equipping of isolation centres, purchase of COVID-19 test kits; provision of personal protective equipment (PPE); and related support to frontline heath workers, as well as the operation of food banks to cater to under-privileged communities in Lagos.
Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer at Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe, said the interventions aligned with the firm’s corporate objectives.
“These interventions sit well within the context of our corporate mission; to create transaction solutions that enable individuals and communities prosper across Africa.
Our efforts are underpinned by the realisation that this pandemic, if left unchecked is a potent threat to interactions which facilitate entrepreneurship and commerce, without which inclusive prosperity will remain a pipe dream.
It is our desire and earnest hope that these initiatives, aggregated with the goodwill and committed efforts of many other like-minded corporate entities and well-meaning individuals who have rallied to this noble cause would significantly contribute to the flattening of the COVID-19 infection curve in Nigeria, which remains one of Africa’s most important economic hubs,” Elegbe said.
Already, Interswitch’s Verve Brand has sealed a partnership with the Lagos State Feeding Programme to provide raw food items for poor and vulnerable communities in the state.
The Group also supported The Young President’s Association (YPO) and the government in setting up the already functional Eti-Osa Isolation Centre in the state.
The fund also provided the Delta State government with tropicalised ultra-low temperature (ULT) laboratory refrigerators that will be used for the storage of reagents and other laboratory consumables and COVID-19 test samples, pending when they will be transported to the designated COVID-19 Testing Laboratory in Irrua, Edo State.
In addition, Interswitch is finalising discussions with Edo, Enugu, Kaduna, Ogun and Oyo states in providing test kits and PPE for frontline health workers.
Leveraging its core responsibilities as a technology company and systems integrator, the firm will be providing free technology for the use of governments and healthcare authorities.
Through its healthcare subsidiary, eClat Healthcare, it is also building a user-friendly, locally-nuanced software application for members of the public as a first-line intervention for the assessment of risk and pre-disposition to the novel coronavirus infection.
The software platform analyses users’ information provided from answers to a series of questions around risk factors, recent exposure, observed symptoms, health and travel history.
This initiative essentially serves to provide guided and up-to-date information on COVID-19, reduce panic, lower gross footfall to medical facilities, being a first-line checkpoint and ultimately reduce risk of exposure to health workers on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic.
Designed with an interactive interface, the solution facilitates further virtual consultation for infected persons, meaning infected persons can stay in their homes and access consultation as to whether their symptoms give cause for alarm or not.
The eClat Health-tech solution supporting state governments’ response to COVID-19 has already been implemented in 20 states across the country.
It is currently in use in Lagos State’s Eti-Osa Isolation centre, and in Edo, Ogun and Oyo States. The solution is set to go live in Delta, Kaduna, Bayelsa, Yobe and Jigawa states where healthcare personnel have also been trained for implementation. Others are Kano, Katsina, Rivers, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, AkwaIbom and Imo states.
Interswitch is leveraging its existing partnership with players such as PAX Technology (a leading international provider of Point-of-Sale payment terminals) to provide essential medical consumables and supplies such as N95 facial masks and thermometers as part of the quest to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The group has also expressed a commitment to leveraging its creative capabilities, social and digital media assets to roll out awareness and sensitisation campaigns to propagate WHO-approved messaging & information on COVID-19, under the umbrella platform of #FlattenTheCov.
By virtue of the alliance with technology providers such as PAX, Interswitch has also underscored commitment by the partners to promote the adoption of contactless point-of-sale payment solutions across the West Africa market.
Contactless payment solutions include payments with contactless-enabled credit and debit cards, as well as QR codes, underscored by the realisation that the widespread adoption of contactless payment solutions have greater propensity to better mitigate the spread of COVID-19.