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How Did Ebola Volunteers Know Where To Go In Liberia? Crowdsourcing!

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO  by Poncie Rutsch                                                      March 25, 2015
From more than 900 miles away, Kpetermeni Siakor helped get volunteers to the right neighborhoods in his native Liberia during the height of the Ebola epidemic.

Kpetermeni Siakor (left), a Liberian who is studying in Ghana, used crowdsourcing software to help out during the Ebola epidemic. Courtesy of Ashesi University College

He did it with Ushahidi, crowdsourcing software that was developed in Kenya in 2008, when the country experienced a wave of post-election violence. The word Ushahidi means testimony in Swahili.

"The government had shut down internet connections and radio stations, so Ushahidi was born out of the need to let people know what is happening," says Siakor, 26. He's a computer science student at Ashesi University College in Accra, Ghana, and receives financial support from the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.

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Fighting Ebola with a holistic vision of big data

TECH REPUBLIC  by Mary Shaklett                                                                         March 24, 2015

Big data practitioners are learning that the laboratory know-how of computer scientists and statisticians must be matched with a holistic, 360-degree vision of the problem to be solved. TheEbola crisis is a prime example....

If big data is going to help solve health issues like Ebola, it must be incorporated into analytics that consider all of the factors shaping the epidemic. These are three of the ingredients that should be factored into Ebola analytics.

1: There are political barriers that stand in the way of obtaining data from cell phone providers that could assist researchers in determining where the disease will strike next.

2: Even if disease researchers could obtain this data, there is a need to "correct" the data for what it doesn't reveal. For example, if less than 50% of a country's population has access to mobile phones and individuals are constantly moving from village to village, how will researchers be able to verify the quality of the data they're getting unless there are people "on the ground" who can verify or provide corrective factors to the data?

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Ebola-proof tablet designed by Google rolled out in Sierra Leone disease centre

THE TELEGRAPH by Aislinn Laing                                                                         March 20, 2015

An Ebola-proof tablet that can survive being doused in chlorine and can be used while wearing gloves has been developed by Google and technology volunteers for use by health workers in Sierra Leone.


MSFStaff testing one of the Clinical Management Tablets at the Magburaka treatment centre in Sierra Leone Photo: MSF

The Android device, based in a waterproof Sony Xperia with an extra protective casing, allows medics to safely record and share patient temperatures and symptoms over days and weeks....

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3 ways mobile helped stop the spread of Ebola in Nigeria

BROOKINGS TECH TANK   by Joshua Bleiberg and Darrell M. West                                       March 19, 2015

...There were a variety of factors that contributed to Nigeria’s success at combating the (Ebola)  disease. One important factorwas the use of mobile electronic health records programs.

1. Training Healthcare Workers

Training health care providers was a priority at the beginning of the Ebola outbreak. A survey found that 85 percent of health care workers in the country believed you could avoid Ebola by abstaining from handshakes or touching. Correcting these myths about the disease was a critical part of the response effort, especially for health care workers.

2. Rapid Deployment

One of the virtues of mHealth is its speed and flexibility. Mobile allows officials to quickly disseminate the latest information to front line health care workers. Increasing the speed of communication is a general boon to any large public health response.

3. Virtual Records

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Redesign Of Ebola Treatment Units Draws 1500 Innovations, Including Locally

INTELLECTUAL PROPRERTY WATCH  by Hillary Muheebwa                                                    March 16, 2015

KAMPALA, UGANDA – In light of the persistence of the Ebola outbreak and the demands it has placed on global infection containment resources and processes, the United States government disaster response community recognised an opportunity to use open innovation to make significant strides in advancing the ability to combat Ebola. The results include a local success story.


“The United States Agency for International Development [USAID], in partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Defense, created a Grand Challenge for Development to target Ebola because we faced the largest epidemic of this disease in history,” said Caroline Pepek, spokeswoman, USAID US Global Development Laboratory....

One of the chosen ideas is the next generation ergonomic tent design submitted by ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda.

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This smart ‘band-aid’ could help the world beat Ebola

MASHABLE  by  Lance Ulanoff                                                                   March 14, 2015

AUSTIN — The international fight against Ebola is far from over. Just this week, new patients arrived in U.S. hospitals for treatment. But back in Africa where healthcare workers have battled hundreds of cases at a time, officials are struggling to find smart solutions that can help ensure the safety of caregivers, offer more comprehensive and speedy care and add 21st century solutions to their disease-fighting arsenal.

Wearable technology is very close to joining the fight....

Wendy Taylor, Direct of the USAID Center for Accelerating Innovation holds a MultiSense Memory patch prototype

On Saturday at SXSW, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) unveiled both a new biomedical suit and the MultiSense Memory wearable sensor:

Even with a new biomedical suit in the wings, doctors in the field still face significant challenges. “Tools are hard to use in an Ebola setting — you can’t use a stethoscope,” said Taylor.

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Exclusive: take a first look at the next generation ebola-protection suit

QUARTZ  by Grace Dobush                                         March 13, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas—Perhaps the most surprising and important product debuting at SXSW Interactive this year is a personal protective equipment (PPE) prototype for health care workers dealing with Ebola, a tangible result of the U.S. government adapting the culture of innovation and design thinking so key in the startup world.

A team from the U.S. Agency for International Development demonstrated the traditional Ebola suit and the new suit in a preview for Quartz....

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Economist: Some high-tech solutions fail with fight against Ebola in West Africa

THE ECONOMIST                                                                                                   March 9, 2015

As in all Ebola episodes, preventing infection in West Africa during what has been the worst outbreak in history has placed a lot of effort on looking after those dealing with the victims. New high-tech equipment is now available for use by health care workers, but in some countries it may be inappropriate....

Health care workers inside a USAID-funded Ebola clinic in Liberia wearing protective gear. Some of the best protective gear or technology is not available to African countries because of high costs or other conditions.  Photos by Abbas Dulleh • Associated Press,

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How big data is beating Ebola

Computational epidemiologists at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) have been working to combat the world’s largest and deadliest outbreak of Ebola. - See more at:
Computational epidemiologists at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) have been working to combat the world’s largest and deadliest outbreak of Ebola. VBI’s Bryan Lewis writes - See more at:
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South African brothers create app to help fight Ebola

PALO ALTO WEEKLY by My Nguyen                      March 6, 2015
PALO ALTO, California -- 

...Malan and Philip Joubert, brothers from South Africa who recently moved to Palo Alto to expand their app-development company, Journey, saw the demand for mobile solutions, so they created the Ebola Care app to help aid organizations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 

 The app has several core functions, including contact tracing, which identifies and diagnoses people who may have come into contact with an infected person; quarantine management, which tracks and manages the 21-day quarantine period of a patient; psychological assessments to determine the well-being of health workers; social work to build case files for orphaned children; survivor surveys, which are assessments of Ebola survivors upon leaving treatment centers; verification that supplies have been distributed; and event feedback, which captures thoughts from the community after educational events.

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