The Hasso Plattner Institute of Germany plans a Nigeria pilot of a new technology hoped to check the deadly Ebola virus and other infectious diseases.
Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) says the mobile app will be first tested in Nigeria this March while “a pilot application will follow” for the system that uses technology for checking infectious diseases like Ebola.
Nigerian researchers working in collaboration with a research consortium composed of scientists of the Hasso Plattner Institute (Potsdam), Helmholtz-Center for Research on Infectious Diseases (Braunschweig), the Robert-Koch-Institute (Berlin), the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine (Hamburg) developed the system named “Surveillance and Outbreak Response Management System” (SORMAS).
The Hasso Plattner Institute is showcasing SORMAS at CeBIT 2015, the largest technology exhibition underway in Hannover, Germany and has announced plans to deploy the system in Nigeria to check the extensive spread of infectious diseases.
In developing SORMAS, practical information about the on-site application were provided by the Nigerian experts in the field of epidemiology and the laboratory training programme, according to HPI.
“Through the systematic approach, they prevented a nationwide outbreak of Ebola in their country. Persons in Nigeria, who had contact with infected persons, were visited by medical staff daily during the incubation time, which is up to 21 days in case of Ebola and they were asked about symptoms of the disease. Many things were still documented on paper.”
HPI adds that, “in order to respond in real time in the future and to exclude any transmission errors, the mobile app developed by the HPI and its partners will be used. Any suspicious symptoms will be documented on smartphones and tablets and directly transmitted to the central database system. Therefore, there can be a direct response and the affected persons can be helped more rapidly.”
According to its developers, SORMAS demonstrated how interactivity is used in the future to prepare situational analyses, identify trends early on and simulate forecasts for potential developments. “To collect suspicious cases helps the persons involved locally such as specialists at various government levels to organize suitable countermeasures efficiently in order to prevent further spread effectively,” Dr. Matthieu Schapranow, HPI Project Manager says.
It is particularly important to find and question locally any contact persons who were potentially exposed to the person with the disease – the so-called “contact tracing”. Compact smartphones and tablets are equipped with a special app allowing medical personnel to document infected persons and their contacts systematically and to report the symptoms. “This should ensure that other persons did not contract the disease,” says HPI.
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