Monday, May 20, 2013

Combating Coronavirus with Free Software

In "Coronavirus – the next pandemic?" (Online Opinion, 15 May 2013) Peter Curson points out that national boundaries offer no defense from new diseases:.

One answer is better tracking of the disease near the source. A few weeks ago I was in Colombo and was asked by local ICT professionals to talk about how computers could be used to combat a pandemic.

Doctors researching infection came along and we work-shopped what could be done. One idea was to use mobile phones to allow doctors to quickly report cases, which could then be mapped in near real time. Currently, in most countries, cases of reportable diseases are communicated on paper, which could days, or weeks, to get from an outlying clinic to the national department of health, by which time the disease could have spread widely.

Members of the Sahana Software Foundation, who work on free open source humanitarian software, are now looking at how to produce such a tool.

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