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Framework of a real-time mobile GIS as early warning mechanism for epidemics

Author(s): L.O.Omotosho, C.O.Akanbi, D.O.Oladeji, M.A.Ibrahim

Health is wealth. Good health is one of the most essential necessities after the basics: food shelter and clothing. Diseases are a threat to individuals’ enjoyment of good health. Epidemics or communicable disease however threaten communities, disrupting day-to-day activities, plummeting or totally incapacitating man-power and directly or indirectly affecting the economy of such a society. The Federal Ministry of Health has targets some twenty-one priority diseases in the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) systemfor eradication one of which is Cholera. However, Cholera outbreaks in Nigeria were at their peak last year (2010). The influx of various technologies and technological know-howwithin the country the application of information technology in Nigeria is obviously not yet near world standard, particularly in the IDSR implementation. This paper presents a framework with a GIS core that incorporates other technologies such asmobile computing to fast track the collation of epidemic related data for prediction and management purposes. As a result of the ubiquitousness of Java-enabled phone (Java based applications) and the widespread integration of Global Positioning Systems (GPSs) into such phones, Location-based services can be used to enhance the ease of use and usefulness of data gathered by public health officials carrying out active surveillance. The components of the framework include a desktop server application, alongside an automated SMS gateway for notification to the populace, amobile client applicationwith capabilities to serve in different capacities both public health workers and individual public users.

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