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Eradicating polio in Africa with the help of remote sensing

Last week, Somalia celebrated a year free of new polio cases. In July, Nigeria completed a year without a polio infection. And according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, now only two countries in the world are fighting polio — Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But, how is remote sensing helping eradicate polio in Africa? Well, you can’t immunise children if you can’t find them, right? DigitalGlobe has been mapping every village and every home in these countries to help immunisation programs deliver vaccines. (Video without audio) Thanks to remote sensing, health workers know exactly how many doses a community needs. To find human settlements in isolated areas, DigitalGlobe used advanced algorithms and evaluated terabytes of data. False positives were eliminated with help from volunteers in a public crowdsourcing campaign. This led to 285,103 settlements being identified in Somalia, that otherwise might have missed being vaccinated.