With mobile technology taking center stage today, people are just fond of using it in every walk of life. It is not only used for text messaging, communication and networking, but also for chatting, votes, registrations, ratings, emergency systems, marketing and statistics purposes.
The marvels of SMS communication is now extended to fulfill “prevention and cure” objective. The state of Andhra Pradesh is in the process of creating a project that uses SMS as a tool to track and prevent diseases.
Named as ‘Integrated Disease Surveillance,’ the project is being implemented by National Informatics Center (NIC). The underlying idea is to combat the spread of an epidemic by identifying it during the primitive stage itself.
Taking into consideration the growing penetration of mobile phones in the rural markets, NIC intends to use it as a platform to convey critical information. The health workers communicate disease-related information in their jurisdiction to a central server which automatically pinpoints the exact locations at which the disease outbreak is severe. The tracking involves usage of maps and hence just by looking at it, the government officials can quickly act on early warning signals of impending outbreaks by deploying the resources.
The built-in system is featured in a way that an alert is generated immediately after the disease count crosses a certain threshold. The information is shared with the health officials for taking quick decisions and to derive comparative results over a month earlier. To cite an example of the project success, early detection of the virus Anthrax in a district helped to prevent its outbreak, saving a thousand lives.
Being a low-cost solution, it is ideal for a country like India where infrastructure is characterized by high literacy levels and low internet penetration. Hence there are talks about deploying this solution in other states as well.
Adapted article from (Source)