IBM to help slow Ebola outbreak in West Africa

IBM has launched a number of initiatives to help stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa, including a citizen engagement and analytics system, a global platform for sharing Ebola-related data and monetary donations to support government's preparedness for future epidemics.

IBM's research lab in Africa has partnered with Sierra Leone's Open Government Initiative to develop an engagement platform, allowing citizens to report Ebola-related issues and concerns through text messages and voice calls. The messages and voice data are location specific, allowing IBM to create "heat maps" that identify public concerns to specific locations.

"For us to tackle Ebola, it is crucial to maintain an open dialogue between the government and the people of Sierra Leone," said Khadija Sesay, director of Sierra Leone's Open Government Initiative. "IBM has enhanced our work on citizen engagement through the use of innovative technology and opened up an effective communication channel with the general public so that we can learn from their input and create actionable policies in the fight against Ebola."

In Nigeria, IBM has donated its Connections technology to the Lagos State Government, which hosts an Ebola Operations Center that coordinates disease containment efforts. The Connections technology helps coordinate public health emergency response teams by allowing health workers and administrators to electronically share information via the cloud. It also allows for video, chat and audio messages.

IBM is also developing a cloud-based Ebola Open Data Repository, which would host open Ebola-related data to which governments, aid agencies and researchers would have free access. IBM volunteers are encouraging worldwide organizations to join them in collecting all open data sources.

"Data can be a powerful resource for managing and mitigating epidemics," said Jeanne Holm, evangelist for Data.Gov. "Governments and other organizations have valuable open data that could help in relief efforts — about roads, airports, schools, medical facilities and populations. Such information can help to drive data-driven decisions during times of uncertainty."

More articles on Ebola:

A communications culture can prevent Ebola-like confusion
Johns Hopkins to coordinate Ebola personal protective equipment workshop
CDC: What to consider when evaluating a patient for Ebola exposure

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars