A young Rwandan lady, a software engineer by profession, Jeanne Bovine Ishemaryayo has developed a software programme dubbed “E-Rinde” loosely translated as “protect yourself” that helps frontline workers trace persons who may have come in contact with a Covid-19 positive person. The 26 year old said the development of the software was inspired by the current challenge of Covid-19 that has ravaged Rwanda and the world in general as the number of cases continues to rise unprecedentedly. So far Covid-19 patients have exceeded 15,000 cases out of over 875,000 tests in only 11 months since the first Covid-19 case broke out in March, 2020. According to the Ministry of Health figures, 46 per cent of the total cases and 60 per cent of Covid-19 fatalities had been recorded only in the consecutive 50 days that preceded the January 18 date before imposing another lockdown for 15 days. So far, the E-Rinde software programme has been subscribed by some Christians from different churches. Photos: Courtesy. Despite the second lockdown, deaths and covid-19 cases are still being daily recorded. “The surging cases are putting a toll on front line workers in the fight against Covid-19. That is why we developed the E-Rinde software programme as an easy, innovative and effective approach to trace the contacts as the best way to reduce the virus transmission in the community,” she said. The programme uses E-Rinde cards with individual’s information that is tapped on a reading-card machine installed at the entrance of public places such as churches, markets, banks and others. “When a person taps the card on the installed machine, it registers them with their identification,” she explained. Jeanne Bovine Ishemaryayo. The system helps frontline workers to easily trace Covid-19 contacts wherever they have passed through and thus reduce covid-19 community transmission. “The system helps to come up with quick intervention to treat the covid-19 patients and reduce the wide transmission in the community,” she added. The software development journey Ishemaryayo said she is committed to seeking solutions to problems that the community faces by using software engineering skills she acquired from school. When the first covid-19 pandemic broke out in Rwanda, the young female entrepreneur committed to search for solutions that can help countries with limited capacity to trace covid-19 contacts. “To reach this level of developing the programme in tracing Covid-19 contacts, I also acquired knowledge and skills about contact tracing from Johns Hopkins University through coursera platform where I succeeded well with 92.8 % marks as a contact tracer and got a certificate,” she said. So far, the E-Rinde software programme has been taken up by some Christians in different churches including Anglican Church in Rwanda and Catholic Church on Kibeho Holy land. “One card costs Rwf1, 000. The cards have so far reached about 4,700 individuals,” she said. Challenges However, the ICT entrepreneur said that due to the effects of Covid-19 on many people’s income, some might not afford to buy the cards. “The idea is the need of financial support to contribute to government efforts in reducing Covid-19 transmission in the community where the cards can be subsidized in order to scale up the use even among vulnerable communities,” she said. The cards are timely especially as not all Rwandans have smartphones and feature phones that can help them to adopt other solutions used in tracing covid-19 contacts such as Safe2go, trace together and others, she noted. Who is the entrepreneur? Ishemaryayo, an orphan, is a 26-year Rwandan young woman who studied Software Engineering at the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology. She graduated in software engineering in 2017. She also designed and launched software dubbed ‘e-Saving’ that seeks to help vulnerable youth, especially those in rural areas to save in Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) “My interest in developing ICT solutions began as part of group work with my colleagues at the university which I later transformed into a company starting with about Rwf25,000 capital saved from our monthly bursary allowance since 2016,” she said. The graduate has designed other software programmes including e-Vuze, a health facility management system that enables health centres, pharmacies, clinics and hospitals create connections with their patients, keep medical records of patients as well as receive payments. She also developed e-Farming, which enables farmers to access farming information on aspects such as market information and access to inputs.