Home Health Mapping technology helps Pak track and prevent epidemic

Mapping technology helps Pak track and prevent epidemic

Pakistan: An early epidemic detection system using mapping technology to visualise the spread dengue can help analysts to predict the next outbreak. An Economist article reported that the app also tracked the status of “anti-dengue tasks” in the Pakistani city of Lahore so city workers could be held accountable for their work. Earlier, the article explained, workers would shirk their work or refuse to apply insecticide unless nearby residents paid a bribe.

Umar Saif, a computer scientist at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, took a sabbatical to help the government implement the tracking system. The technology was derived from another one of Saif”s projects called Flubreaks, which essentially one-ups Google Flu Trends. While Google Flu Trends can identify outbreaks in real time, Flubreaks takes the same information and converts it into an early detection system. However, since dengue fever often emerges in 2- 4 year cycles, Saif”s mobile mapping technology, and more importantly the government response and implementation of anti-dengue practices, has not yet been tested to the fullest extent.

In a surprising twist to this story, the anti-dengue app was used to combat corruption in Pakistan”s May 11 general election. According to the Guardian, more than 15,000 election observers were equipped with the mobile app loaded onto smartphones. With it they could send reports and photos of suspicious activity to a control room, where they were displayed as red circles on a map.

Source: Tech President