Infodemiology in the Battle Against Ebola: Mining the Web for Public Health Surveillance

“Infodemiology includes the analysis of queries from Internet search engines to predict disease outbreaks; monitoring people’s’ status updates on microblogs such as Twitter for syndromic surveillance; detecting and quantifying disparities in health information availability; identifying and monitoring of public health relevant publications on the Internet” (Eysenbach, 2009)

Internet data, especially search engine queries and social media postings, have shown promise in contributing to syndromic surveillance for several communicable diseases, including Ebola. Much has been written about the global response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, “lessons learned” have often focused on operational reasons why health systems faltered and why the humanitarian response came late, often taking donors and international aid agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to task for mishandling the crisis.

A systematic review published in 2014 by Nuti and his colleagues, highlighted that in recent years, researchers have been increasingly utilising online search data for a diversity of health topics with some successful applications in the field of infectious disease surveillance, especially in countries with high Internet penetration levels (Nuti et al., 2014).

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Podcast: “Health: Why Tech and Data, Not Aid is the Answer”

 

Mariéme Jamme is a Tech entrepreneur, activist and co-founder of Africa Gathering, a global platform bringing together entrepreneurs and others to share ideas about development in Africa.

In 2012 Southbank Centre launched Africa Utopia, a festival dedicated to bringing art, ideas and discussions on African politics, technology, education and trade from Africa and the African diaspora to audiences in the UK.

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Open Data Day 2017 – Saturday 4th March

Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. For the seventh time in history, groups from around the world will create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society.

The focus this year will be on four key areas that we believe open data can solve:

  • Open research data
  • Tracking public money flows
  • Open data for environment
  • Open data for human rights

 

Featured Image Credit: Open Knowledge International Blog

#GFI4SD – Post 1: Can Data Ensure SDGs Truly ‘Leave No One Behind’?

The inaugural Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development 2017, organized by the UN SDG Action campaign and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), billing itself as “the world’s first playable policy conference”, kicked off in Bonn, Germany, on 1st March. Over 3 days, the conference features High level plenary sessions, presentations, discussion and debates, policy simulations and participatory games based on interactive and immersive technology.

A central theme of the conference is ‘leave no one behind’, a soaring rhetoric that, in its broadest sense, means ensuring that targets and indicators will not be considered met unless they have been met for every person around the globe. In responding to this goal, the conference presents several sessions and discussion centering around what tools the global community and SDG actors need to ensure they have innovative approaches to accomplish their mission.

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Health Equity: Role of Social Determinants of Health Data in Improving Health in Africa

 

During the 2011 World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health was adopted. The declaration expressed a global political commitment for the implementation of a social determinants of health (SDH) approach to reduce health inequities. Social determinants of health are defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. These conditions influence a person’s opportunity to be healthy, risk of illness and life expectancy. Social inequities in health – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status across groups in society – are those that result from the uneven distribution of social determinants. All of these drive health inequity – systematic disparities in health between social groups who have different levels of underlying social advantage or disadvantage such as food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, proper clothing and have limited access to medical care, education and finance.

Video: Dr Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – use of data to visualize social determinants of health across the globe.

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