USAID funds technology platform to identify Zika "cold spots" in Guatemala

The U.S. Agency for International Development is funding a Zika intervention platform, developed by Cambridge, Mass.-based software company Dimagi and New York City-based Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The project links satellite imagery from the company DigitalGlobe with the Arnhold Institute's Health Equity Atlas platform. The goal is to use predictive algorithms to locate and assess vulnerable areas where health, demographic and other population data is absent, to determine risk for a Zika epidemic. The project will be implemented with the help of TulaSalud, a Guatemalan nonprofit, which has built a health worker digital service on Dimagi's mobile app development platform.

"Information gaps exacerbate vulnerabilities to health crises, and we know that when epidemics strike, and health inequities are present, resources are naturally diverted to areas where there is known information about confirmed cases or well-defined infrastructure for intervention," said Prabhjot Singh, MD, PhD, director of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health.

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