Nigeria: ITU Launches ‘Ebola-Info-Sharing’ Mobile Application
By Adeyemi Adepetun( Nigeria Guardian)
TO further curb the growing influence of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has launched a free mobile Application to be used in the campaign against the disease in Africa and other part of the world.
The "Ebola-Info-Sharing" mobile App facilitates coordination among organizations responding to the Ebola crisis and offers the general public access to the latest Ebola news from official sources, including an interactive map on Ebola.
According to out-going ITU Secretary-General, Hamadoun I. Touré, Information and Communication Technologies are now critical components of emergency telecommunications not only when natural disasters strike, but also during epidemics such as the Ebola disease outbreak.
"The "Ebola-Info-Sharing" App not only enhances prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of diseases but also strengthens healthcare systems through improvements in emergency response, healthcare practitioner support, healthcare surveillance and administration", Toure stated.
Already from the EVD, according to the World Health Organization, a total of 17 908 cases of Ebola have been reported to date by the Ministries of Health of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The outbreak has claimed over 6,373 lives, with West Africa accounting for the majority of deaths.
ITU believed that with more information passed across through ICT applications, the disease could be curb drastically.
As such, the Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou said with such unprecedented computing power in the palm of our hands it is imperative that we harness mobile technology to serve humanity and especially in combating epidemics.
"Partnerships are key to the success of a collective global response to fight epidemics like Ebola", he stated.
The App is currently available for Android mobile devices and will soon be available for iOS devices.
This section, accessible by all users, offers access to the latest official Ebola news. In addition, an interactive map of the Ebola-affected region shows the location of healthcare centres in urban and remote areas and allows users to mark the location of infected people. The map is continuously updated.
The "Ebola-Info-Sharing" application has been custom-developed to operate using ultra low bandwidth requirements and has a fully functioning offline mode. It is available in English and French.
Chief of the ITU Projects and Knowledge Management Department and ITU Focal Point on Ebola, Cosmas L. Zavazava, "We are working with other United Nations Agencies to incorporate mobile technologies in the Ebola response plan.
"At the same time we provide emergency telecommunications equipment to meet the connectivity needs of rural areas that have no or limited connectivity access."