By Angela Atabo
The ehealth Africa (eHA), a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), has empowered about 23 youths in the country with digital skills toward bridging their knowledge gap.
Mr Abdulhamid Yahaya, the Deputy Director for Global Health Informatics for eHealth Africa, said this at the fifth eHA Academy graduation on Friday in Abuja.
Yahaya said the academy was a free web design course that built the capacity of young people on the basics of web design.
Yahaya said that the 16 weeks programme was an intensive practical on the fundamentals of website development among others.
“Since the mission of ehealth is to build stronger health systems through the design and implementation of data driven solutions,it noticed the critical gap in digital or technical skills and thought of how to bridge it.
“We work in the development sector, and most of our work is implemented through one form of digital platform or another. So we thought this is a gap that we should address.
“The UAE and Singapore digital rating stands at about 7.8 global digital gap in a Readiness Index and Nigeria is about 3.8 ,so you can see that the gap is very high.
“So we thought part of our own way of helping to bridge that gap will be for us to create the Academy where we train people for free, entirely 100 per cent free with no strings attached,” he said.
He added: “So when we started, we also noticed that it’s not just the gap between the West and Africa that exists but there are even other gaps between males and females.
“So we now held a Cohort completely focused on 100 per cent female of the students we took were female to help bridge that gap, but have resorted back to the male and female cohort with a lot of attention on females.’’
Yahaya said that in bridging the digital divide, ehealth Africa empowered young people with technical digital skills that they could survive with and also created a pool of expertise.
“Most of them move from the internship programme, and get converted into full time employees who also now train new trainees and provide mentorship as well.
“Four things are also unique about our programme ,one its free, two,you have live mentorship unlike other programmes where you are left to fend for yourself, three, there is gender parity, then four, you have an opportunity for placements if you do well,’’he said
Yahaya said that 3,141 youths applied for the internship but ehealth took 155 participants with eight interns, five females and three males.
He said having built the capacity of the graduates in web application and development; they would be supported with internship opportunities in software development, quality assurance engineering, business analysis, and UI/UX design.
“eHealth Academy is going a long way to bridge the technological skills gap in young people while empowering them to thrive in the digital age.
“This is being achieved over the years as we continue to provide free access to world-class software development resources, knowledge required to create cutting-edge solutions that address modern day challenges.’’
Senior Coordinator, Software Engineering, eHealth Africa, Nanle Luke, said the current digital data revealed that there was a need for technical skills and that was what the academy was trying to achieve.
Luke said the academy enabled the trainees to have one on one contact with students to ensure that they delivered based on what was programmed as well as to provide health solutions to other organisations.
“My advice to the trainees is to keep up the good work ,I am very proud of what they have done ,so they need to keep working and building to contribute to the nation.’’
One of the beneficiaries, Nienge Teryima from Benue commended ehealth Africa for the initiatives.
“I did an online interview and wrote a competent test. Then I was selected for the course.
“As software engineering student, I have the theoretical foundation about software engineering in school but now I understand the practical aspects very easily because I have access to everything,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the academy was inaugurated in 2016 in Conakry, Guinea by eHealth Africa (eHA) due to inadequate software developers in Guinea then, and the need to build human capacity to maintain and upgrade the digital solutions to enhance healthcare and healthier lives.
The inaugural cohort was a physical eight-week curriculum in software development and network engineers with seasoned experts as instructors.(NAN)
Edited by Ali Inuwa