How fake drug menace inspired Nigerian winner of Silicon Valley contest

After losing her brother to fake drug, Jessica Osita dusted the pains off and was determined to ensure no one suffer such fate again. She joined hands with four other girls seeking ways to tackle the menace of fake drugs in the country.

Five months down the line, their effort paid off as they won the gold medal at the World Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, beating teams from the US, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan and China.

“I feel very excited and relieved. I’m extremely proud of myself,” 15-year-old Osita, told CNN.

All students of Regina Pacies Secondary School, Onitsha, the team, including Osita and Promise Nnalue, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo, Vivian Okoye, won the challenge with a mobile application called the ‘FD-Detector’.

Osita said the app would help the family relieve the burden of her brother’s death.

According to her, “my brother died from fake drugs. I’m very motivated by the death of my brother to solve this problem. With this app, we will relieve the burden. I feel very excited. I want to produce genuine drugs.”

She also recalled how people had tried to discourage her because she is a female.

“Some people told me ‘you’re a girl, why are you going into tech?” she was quoted as saying. “At first my parents didn’t understand what I was doing, but it’s only recently that they see what I’m doing. They are very, very proud.”

The girls will be attending field trips and workshops, including a networking session during their one week stay in the US.