The ITU has launched a free mobile Application to be used in the campaign against the Ebola disease outbreak.
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.
“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,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “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.”
“Wit”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,” said Mr Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “Partnerships are key to the success of a collective global response to fight epidemics like Ebola.”
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.
Contacts and interactive forum:
This password-protected feature is designed for use by organizations involved in the Ebola response. It allows them to store and share useful contacts and participate in an interactive forum to discuss and exchange information. Organizations wishing to use the Application should either complete the sign-up form available on the App or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
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.
“We are working with other United Nations Agencies to incorporate mobile technologies in the Ebola response plan,” said Mr Cosmas L. Zavazava, Chief of the ITU Projects and Knowledge Management Department and ITU Focal Point on Ebola. “At the same time we provide emergency telecommunications equipment to meet the connectivity needs of rural areas that have no or limited connectivity access.”
A new ITU resolution “Using information and communication technologies to break the chain of health-related emergencies such as Ebola virus transmission” was approved unanimously during the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference held in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 20 October to 7 November 2014. The resolution called for the use of ICTs to facilitate timely exchange of information on health-related emergencies.
In 2015, ITU will deploy a more robust platform for use by the humanitarian community that will take advantage of social media and the big data revolution.
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.