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Fighting the virus with Corona Warriors in Nepal: Jacobs University students develop prizewinning solution
May 14, 2020
Nepal is rich in landscapes but poor when it comes to medical facilities. There are few doctors and the awareness of the need for preventive measures is not very pronounced, especially among the rural population. How can the spread of the coronavirus be contained under these circumstances? "With the support of the Corona Warriors", a team of Nepali students from Jacobs University Bremen say. For their concept, they took first place in a competition held as part of the international "Impact Week", a non-profit program that promotes innovation in developing and emerging countries.
Supported by the German Embassy in Kathmandu, along with Lufthansa Group, Kings College Nepal, MURAL, and EXLab Nepali participants guided by coaches from Germany, Turkey, India, Belgium and Nepal had 60 hours to develop a plan to combat the virus. They applied the methods of design thinking, an approach to creative innovation development, also taught at Jacobs University Bremen. Interdisciplinary teams worked together in order to focus on user-centric needs to develop the final product.
Jacobs University’s team focused on the often-isolated rural population. Surakshya Gautam, Niraj Adhikari, Shuvabi Pradhan, Sanjay Timilsena and Opendra Thapa designed a program in which medical students act as "Corona Warriors". Before these students are deployed in the villages, they receive a two-week training course in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) or organizations such as Médecins sans Frontières. On-site, they not only contribute to prevention and better health hygiene, but also relieve the burden on front line doctors. They also benefit from their commitment by gaining valuable experience and getting rewards by the state, for example in the form of scholarships for the continuation of their studies.
The group of students, who call themselves "Delta Warriors", designed a website, conducted user and expert interviews and created an animated video. "We study different subjects such as International Relations, Economics, Biology, Engineering and Computer Science," says Shuvabi Pradhan, a member of the Delta Warriors. "The diversity of our group has helped us a lot to concretize ideas on different aspects."
The Delta Warriors are in contact with various representatives of health organizations in Nepal, such as the Nepal Medical Council, the World Health Organization or the Nepal Doctors Association, on the implementation of their concept. Currently, only a few Corona cases are known in the country. "We hope to be able to make a contribution to prevention and thus to the containment of the pandemic," says Shuvabi Pradhan.