Health workers in Nigeria are monitoring suspected cases of Ebola with mobile phones and an Android app that cut the time it took to report the onset of symptoms.
The app and most of the phones were provided by eHealth & Information Systems Nigeria, a Santa Ana, California-based non-profit research company that operates in the northern city of Kano. Ebola Alert, a group of volunteers, used Facebook and Twitter to educate Nigerians about the illness. Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Nigerian unit organized training sessions for journalists on how to use Google Trends to identify top questions most people wanted answered about the disease.
The phone app helped reduce reporting times that would normally take 12 hours by half initially, then 75 percent, before becoming almost real time, according to Daniel Tom-Aba, senior data manager at the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos. Information previously written on forms by hand before being sent to databases could be updated immediately, he said.
eHealth is exporting its app-loaded mobile phones and other tech-based tools to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three worst-hit countries in West Africa.