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Culture & Religion

How Mobile Phones and Data Are Fighting Malaria in Africa

The non-profit org Malaria No More, boosted by a grant from Google, is set to take advantage of Africa's over 1 billion mobile phones in order to fight a disease that kills 400,000 of the continent's children per year.

Here’s a fascinating profile by Issie Lapowsky of Wired UK all about a non-profit organization that’s hoping to harness the power of mobile phones to defeat malaria in Africa:

“Martin Edlund likes to say that malaria may one day be the first disease beaten by mobile phones. Yes, he happens to be the CEO of the non-profit Malaria No More, so he has to say stuff like that. But no, it’s not a total pipedream.

Africa, where malaria kills around 400,000 children every year, is set to top 1 billion mobile phone subscriptions by next year. That means that public health researchers will have one billion ways to communicate with — and collect data from — the people who are most at risk of catching malaria, a disease that has traditionally been extremely difficult to track.

‘Lack of information and data is why this is among one of the deadliest diseases on the planet,’ Edlund says. And he believes mobile phones could change all that.”

Edlund’s plan, which is backed by a $600,000 grant from Google, begins in Nigeria, where Malaria No More is set to launch a data mining project that will help track outbreaks and cull information from self-reporters. According to Lapowsky, the organization is partnering with a Nigerian startup called Sproxil and getting assistance from “data mining company Palantir, epidemiologists from Harvard University, and a team from Clinton Health Access Initiative.” The initiative should serve as a big step to better understand the patterns of disease transmission while shining lights on effective and ineffective modes of treatment.

For more on this story, be sure to check out Lapowsky’s full piece linked below.

Read more at Wired UK

Photo credit: next143 / Shutterstock


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