AIMS Alumnus uses science and technology to combat COVID19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) was founded in 2003 by Professor Neil Turok, to equip young African scientists with the competencies for solving Africa’s grand challenges. Since 2003, AIMS has graduated over 2200 alumni, with 70% of them remaining on African soil towards solving the existing problems on the continent.

As world leaders and scientists grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, some AIMS alumni are putting hands on deck to fight against the virus in their communities.

Albert Agisha, AIMS Rwanda Mastercard Foundation Scholar alumnus, and native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has joined efforts to combat the virus in his home country using science and technology with the covid19 DRC team.

The team was founded by Professor Jonathan Esole, a Congolese mathematician working on the geometry of string theory and Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Fellow. Other members of the covid19 DRC team include two NEF Ambassadors to the DRC Joséphine Ndeze (2019-2021) and Raissa Malu (2017-2018).

The organisation started by producing a user-friendly dashboard that provides awareness on the pandemic, after which they advanced to manufacturing transparent plastic masks meant to cover one’s entire face to avoid contamination from the virus. Since droplets from the mouth and nose can contain the virus that causes COVID-19, the anti-projection face shields provide an extra layer of protection to doctors, nurses, and first responders. 

Albert Agisha is currently the team representative in South-Kivu and is also in charge of the production of the protective Face anti-projection Shields using 3D Printing technology. “Through AIMS I was able to meet with Professor Jonathan Esole, through ‘The Future of Science’ conference that took place at AIMS Rwanda in 2019”, says Agisha.

The conference was as a means of bringing together top researchers from around the world to interact with postgraduate students and young African researchers.

“AIMS allowed me to be part of a pan-African and international ecosystem that challenged me and excited my curiosity every day. It gave me the chance to turn my dreams into reality and made my ambitions grow as I realised the scope of possibilities in front of me. I particularly appreciate learning how to solve problems efficiently and under pressure. I was able to meet a vibrant network of extraordinary people in a wide range of domains from academia to the business and corporate world”, he said.