COVID-19 has killed 4.2 million people worldwide in the year and eight months since the first case was discovered. Africa has not been spared, although it continues to have the lowest rates of infections and deaths per capita. However, the region’s response to the deadly virus still has gaps, and blockchain, according to Kayode Babarinde, executive director of the Africa Blockchain Institute, could be the answer.
When you consider that Africa has the lowest COVID-19 instances and deaths—only a tenth of what America has—remarkable. it’s This is despite the region’s struggles to provide basic healthcare and deal with other diseases like malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS. This is despite the fact that Africa has the lowest vaccination rate in the world, with only 2% of COVID-19 vaccinations delivered throughout the continent.
The answer—or at least part of it—might lie in embracing technology in the COVID-19 response, particularly blockchain technology, for a continent with a median age of 19-20. Babarinde wrote in an op-ed for the World Economic Forum that adopting new technology and the capabilities of blockchain could aid in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics.
Babarinde is the CEO of ABI, an organization dedicated to advancing blockchain acceptance, development, and application by delivering high-quality blockchain education to professionals, entrepreneurs, government regulators, and the general public.
One of the advantages of using blockchain in the fight against COVID-19 is that data and materials are delivered more quickly. Countries such as India have demonstrated how serious the effects of errors in the interchange of health data and information may be. As a result, employing a decentralized, immutable, and public ledger could aid Africa’s response to the crisis.
Transparency in healthcare may be crucial in the fight against the epidemic, and blockchain may hold the solution. Blockchain’s decentralised ledger system, according to Babarinde, might provide a better track-and-trace system, where data from different sources is pooled to give higher confidence in infection rates statistics.
As vaccination becomes increasingly widespread in Africa, the continent may face a problem similar to that which has plagued Europe and North America: false vaccination certificates. In the United Kingdom, On the black web, a phony COVID-19 immunization certificate, for example, may be purchased for as little as $150. Blockchain technology has the potential to help weed out false certificates.
“Blockchain’s decentralised public ledger system could allow for multiple verifications of the authenticity of the certificates, thus helping to curb the proliferation of fake COVID-19 vaccine certificates. […] With blockchain, the certificates are distributed across several servers, providing more security while making data retrieval accurate and instantaneous,”
The Bitcoin SV blockchain is already proven to be a forerunner in Africa’s fight against COVID-19. VXPASS, a BSV startup based in Lesotho, is playing a key role in the country’s response to the pandemic. VXPASS has teamed up with the SESIU Fund to eliminate paper from vaccine card distributions and other logistics in the country.
VXPASS, according to founder Zachary Weiner, is a safe, digital, patient-owned alternative to the traditional paper COVID card.
“By replacing the paper cards with on-chain digital records we can help unlock borders in the short term, and significantly reduce ongoing medical tech debt in the long term. For VXPASS this is an ideal opportunity to solve the problem that we were created to solve.”