Mobile phones could help fight bird flu

18-10-2006 | |
Mobile phones could help fight bird flu

A trial of new mobile phone software designed to help fight avian influenza will soon begin in Indonesia.

The mobile phone handset application was developed jointly by the GSM Association Development Fund and Voxiva, and is already being trialed in Rwanda for HIV/AIDS monitoring. The trial for bird flu in Indonesia should begin in November.
The application will allow health workers in the field to use handheld devices to submit critical health data to authorities in real time, the two developing organisations said.
The aim is to allow health workers to use their mobile phones to report disease outbreaks, drug inventory levels, patient treatment status and other important information to a health management information system developed by US-based Voxiva.
Health officials can view, analyse and respond to vital data immediately, the organisations said in a statement.
“The efforts of the international health community to control pandemics, by getting life-saving drugs to those in need, depend heavily on a comprehensive and accurate picture of what is happening on the ground,” said Rob Conway, CEO and member of the board of the GSMA, a trade grouping of mobile phone operators worldwide. “When a disease is spreading rapidly, health authorities need information that is bang-up-to-date. Mobile networks, which are now widespread in the developing world, are the best and most immediate way to get them that vital data.”
Health workers can also use the software to order medicine, send alerts, download treatment guidelines, training materials and other information, the statement said.