NPR Examines How Pakistan Is Using Smartphones To Prevent Dengue

NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Shots” blog examine how a mobile phone app has helped health officials in Lahore, Pakistan, track and prevent dengue fever. “Two years ago, an estimated 20,000 people in and around the city of Lahore contracted the deadly tropical disease. This year, the region has recorded just a few dozen cases,” NPR’s “Shots” blog reports. “Fortuitous weather patterns may have helped to keep the mosquito population low. But many leaders also credit a mobile phone app — and the public health campaign that uses it,” the blog continues. In 2012, “[t]here were 67,000 different prevention activities [that] were performed and were photo-logged by the smartphones,” according to Umar Saif, a computer scientist who developed the app, “Shots” writes. Saif “built a Google map that correlates the locations of dengue cases and hot spots for mosquito larvae,” the blog reports, adding, “With these visuals, Saif and his team could zero in on problem regions in the province and predict future outbreaks” (Ahmed, 9/16).

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