Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness are enduring to bolster efforts in the battle, containment, minimization, and eradication of Ebola threats to human relief and rehabilitation.
If in cases of natural disasters, earthquakes and tsunamis, the prediction and combat efforts ( before onset and after damage ) are deemed critical, Health Care threats like Ebola and Flu shift the dimension strongly in favor of the present situation ( i.e.during the process ) highly decisive. In the first instance, there is not much any one can do to alter the course and consequences as they swell at a pace and period that is comparatively sharp and short in duration. Whereas in the latter instance, it is the potential of the outbreak to last, spread, and engulf a larger area and population for a long period challenging the control process that becomes a daunting duel testing the powers and capabilities of the ‘Management’.
Ebola outbreak is one of such cases in the latter category.
With no proven drugs of cure in sight ( latest reports of the 2 drugs being tested in Universities in Switzerland for commercial use in January 2015 still in the realm of a possibility ) , (a) creating awareness about the disease and the precautionary measures; and (b) use of protective gears and frequent washing of hands in the treatment of Ebola patients by the Health Care associates are the two major actions cited in every publication at this juncture. We are in to the 4th week since it made the big news internationally.
The containment operation field has become wider and significant with Technology pitching in with initiatives and solutions to Ebola Emergency Planning & Preparedness ( EEPP ) ideas. It is here that IBM comes in picture.
IBM’s Africa Research Lab tries to bring its skills and resources to bear by putting a research lab on the ground in ‘Sierra Leone’. No other IT company has a research lab on the ground in West Africa !
This is how IBM Lab strives to position itself : IBM focuses on 3 aspects viz. (a) Creation of awareness to the public; (b) Launching a ” data analytics system ” to track the spread of the disease; and (c) Providing necessary insight to enable the local government and community to plan their strategies.
The crux of this exercise lies in getting the Citizens to report through “Phone calls and Text messages ” details regarding Ebola affected patients and other related issues. IBM uses this data to process, analyze, and turn it in to what it terms the ” Heat Maps “. These maps are detailed description(s) of the various locations of Ebola stricken patients, the problems they encounter, and the resources/health care/supplies like soaps needed immediately in tracking the disease. AirTel is its mobile partner in this work. A toll free number enables the locals to send information. Echo Mobile, the Kenyan firm, ensures the data lacks distinctive features and individuality of recorded people.
IBM uses its supercomputing and analytics technologies utilizing the ” cloud ” and portrays the ” trends ” based on all these information. Through radio broadcasts citizens are stimulated and encouraged to engage in this attempt. Ebola related public service announcements also comes in support. The information collected covers flight sources, locations/areas of the outbreak(s), number of people affected, local/regional services available/involved, non-governmental organizations engaged in the process and the like .. .
This is IBM’s ” Ebola Analytics System “.
This endeavor is to be replicated in Liberia and Guinea sooner and faster.
IBM says : ” This information can help to drive data driven decisions during times of uncertainty “.
An example of an IT company to participate in enhancing the capabilities of containing the Ebola crisis and make a difference in this crisis !
” Dieu avec nous “
Thursday, October 30, 2014 – 8. 29 a.m.
Tidbit : ” It is essential to have health enough to make work a pleasure ” – Goethe.