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Science News


PING team

Source article

News release

Published By

Dr. Dick van der Wateren

Tags

Health, Malaria, Smartphone, HP, Botswana, PING


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Mobile phones help fight malaria

24.06.2011, Age: 2727 days

In Botswana, healthcare workers are equipped with mobile devices to collect data about malaria outbreaks and notify the health ministry. Geotagged data are used to map for the first time disease transmission in the country. This will enable faster response times and better measurement of malaria cases to monitor treatment and scale up the distribution of mosquito nets. The project is a collaboration of IT multinational HP and nonprofit organisation Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING).

From the press release:

On the heels of the United Nations Social Innovation Summit, HP and nonprofit organization Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING) are launching a collaboration to improve the quality and efficiency of disease surveillance in Botswana through mobile health monitoring technology that can enhance protection and prevention against major malaria outbreaks.

Advancing the country toward its goal of malaria elimination, the initiative uses HP webOS and cloud computing technology to enable health workers to more efficiently predict, observe and minimize the harm caused by outbreaks.

In partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and mobile network provider MASCOM, the program equips healthcare workers in Botswana with HP Palm Pre 2 smartphones to collect malaria data, notify the Ministry of Health about outbreaks and tag both data and disease surveillance information with GPS coordinates. This data will contribute to a first-ever geographic map of disease transmission in the country, enabling faster response times and better measurement of malaria cases to monitor treatment and scale up the distribution of mosquito nets.

The program’s year-long pilot phase is the largest mobile health pilot program in Botswana, running throughout the malaria season. Future programs are planned to reach additional outbreak-prone diseases in the region.

Data analysis in the cloud: The initiative enables healthcare workers to collect data via a webOS application on a mobile device, upload the data over a mobile network, and analyze and share the data via the cloud. Through this system, analysis now takes hours rather than weeks to complete.Rapid outbreak notification: When an outbreak is detected, healthcare workers can quickly upload specific case and location information from their mobile devices in the field. Health officers in the area and members of the Ministry of Health then receive a text message alerting them of the outbreak, enabling rapid deployment of preventative measures to reduce disease transmission.Higher accuracy with real-time surveys: Through the flexibility and ease of development on the webOS platform, a surveillance application enables health workers to perform real-time surveys from the field. Health workers are able to enter accurate, context-rich data through pictures, video, audio, GPS coordinates, qualitative and quantitative information about the case.

In the next phase of the program, HP and PING plan to develop a cloud-based health services package for consumers in Botswana, creating a sustainable system for delivering even more health-related information to users over mobile networks.

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Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING) is literally a young organisation: it is led by young people and aims at young people. PING implements health or youth related technology projects along with intensive high school-age and college mentorship programs. Both mentorship programs build IT skills in the young population that PING hopes to serve with its projects. PING’s goal is to help address health and development problems by not only using technology in an innovative way, but also by creating more problem solvers in the local population. PING was founded in and is based out of Gaborone, Botswana.


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