Using Mobile Tech To Detect Early Disease Outbreaks In Africa

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Human and animal-health professionals from sub-Saharan Africa and around the world convened with software and ICT professionals in Tanzania this week to talk about how mobile phones can be used to detect diseases in Africa.

A three-day workshop to enhance community-based disease outbreak detection and response in East and Southern Africa was organised by the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance, according to TanzaniaNewsDaily.

Mark Rweyemamu serves as executive director of the Tanzania-based Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance.

The goal of the workshop was to seek agreement among participants on an innovative, community-led, sustainable solution to aiding early identification of outbreaks of infectious diseases using mobile technology, Rweyemamu said.

The initiative is funded by Skoll Global Threats Fund, a San Francisco, California-based organization whose mandate is to drive large-scale global change on the most critical issues facing mankind such as climate change, water security, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, and Middle East conflict.

“This innovative, ground-up initiative will save lives and help prevent people from becoming ill,” Rweyemamu said. “…it has only been possible because it has been developed as community-led initiative with local, health professionals and government involvement.”

Participants were expected to discus, refine and agree on how to collaborate in providing solutions to challenges facing disease-outbreak detection supported by application of mobile technology, Rweyemamu said.