Realising the opportunities to improve infectious disease surveillance through mobile phone technology, SACIDS and EAIDSNet used a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to pilot the use of mobile technologies for disease surveillance. Trained technicians gathered data on quantitative disease occurrence in the Ngorongoro, Kagera and Zambezi river basins, using mobile phones. The data was then sent to a central server.
Drawing on the success of the pilot project, SACIDS is now planning a second phase to establish a digital system for disease surveillance. The scope of this follow-on phase will cover parts of Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
By mobilizing innovative digital technologies and maximizing cross-border collaboration, the networks are aiming to achieve:
- Early disease detection through effective and timely reporting via mobile and digital tools;
- Rapid response to outbreaks by integrating detection signals and data with existing public health prevention and response capacity;
- Increased technical capacity, knowledge sharing, and cross border collaboration through a new ICT Resource Centre.
This project supplements existing national surveillance systems. Community health reporters will be key in the newly designed community-based active surveillance system as they will search for, register and report on disease outbreaks by submitting data from their mobile phones.
The Mekong Basin Network, MBDS, will share their extensive experience in developing mobile technoloigies for cross-border collaboration.
Photo courtesy of SACIDS