By Gaurav Pradhan
IBM has taken the fight to Ebola amidst the numbers of fatality rising due to the disease. It has launched several programs to restrict the spread of the disease to further regions. It is empowered by citizen engagement and analytics system in Sierra Leone, leading to effective communication of issues and concerns of Ebola affected communities with the Government – a real time communication solution donated by IBM Communications Technology in Nigeria. This acts as reinforcement to government’s preparedness for disease breakouts in future; and also a global platform sharing Ebola related information and data.
What is Ebola?
The real time fact sheet gives a fair clue of Ebola to the people who are only hearing about it, but not having prior information regarding this disease.
- Ebola Virus disease (EVD), earlier known as Ebola Hemorrhagic fever, is a serious and often fatal illness for humans.
- The virus is transmitted to people via wild animals and spreads in human population via human-to-human transmission.
- EVD fatality rate on an average is 50%, but it has varied a lot from 25% to 90% in earlier outbreaks.
- First EVD outbreak was observed in remote villages near the tropical rainforests of Central Africa. But recent outbreaks have been learnt to be in major Urban and rural areas of West Africa.
- Outbreaks can be controlled by community engagement. Infrastructural interventions are required such as case management, surveillance, contact tracing, good laboratory facilities, safe burials and effective social management processes.
- There is no effective cure for Ebola but symptomatic treatment increases the chances of survival. A vaccine and a cure is yet to be developed.
IBM Technology facilitating Coordination
Nigeria has been a leader in fighting Ebola, as it has been declared ‘Ebola-Free’. Supporting Nigeria’s preparedness for future outbreaks, IBM donated its Communications Technology to Lagos Government.
Nigeria’s Lagos government has been proactively hosting Ebola Operations Center which coordinates disease restraining efforts on behalf of Nigerian Government and other organizations. IBM’s technology SmartCloud will help strengthen the coordination of public health emergency response teams, ensuring Lagos state government manage and respond to new reported cases of Ebola or any other future epidemics.
IBM Technology building Citizen Engagement in Sierra Leone
IBM’s new research lab in Africa along with Sierra Leone’s Government Initiative, has developed a system which enables local people to report Ebola-related issues and concerns with help of voice all or SMSes. This helps in providing actionable information of day-to-day experience of communities getting affected by Ebola to the Government which helps strategize their future actions related to Ebola containment. This tapped information help identify correlations and highlighting many upcoming issues with the help of supercomputing and analytics capability from the cloud.
Contributing & Creating Ebola Open Data Repository
IBM’s SoftLayer cloud technology has become a platform for hosting an Ebola Open Data Repository, providing governments, agencies and researchers with open and free access to valuable Ebola-related data. Many African countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania joined in this initiative to use published data driving better collaboration and innovation.
Fighting Ebola is a big task which will require participation of many countries and companies who can contribute with their skills and expertise to curb this disease. IBM has started being the frontier, we expect other major companies and countries should join.
(Author is a Management student of IIM Bangalore having an experience in Manufacturing Industry, Follow On Twitter @GauravToYou)
IBM and Apple, A US$ 50 Billion Market Partnership: ‘Beauty’ with ‘Brains’ to Rule Enterprise Business – Social Media Trend – https://www.socialmediatrend.in/technology/ibm-and-apple-partnership-beauty-with-brains-to-rule-enterprise-business/
Microsoft’s Wearable Watch: Something to look out for – Social Media Trend – https://www.socialmediatrend.in/technology/microsofts-wearable-watch-something-to-look-out-for/
Ebola finds new hotspots outside Liberian capital – Yahoo News – http://news.yahoo.com/liberia-village-becomes-ebola-epicenter-102427025.html
Why It’s Not Enough to Just Eradicate Ebola – NBC News – http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/why-its-not-enough-just-eradicate-ebola-n243891