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Using App Technology to Fight The Ebola Outbreak

by Felix Omondi

Using App Technology to Fight The Ebola Outbreak

In response to the words of Tarik Jasarevic a spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO), who said, “What is really important is to inform the population of Guinea and Conakry about this disease, as this is the first time they are facing Ebola. They need to know what it is and how they can protect themselves.”

A West-African based tech-company, Code Innovation in collaboration with a team of developers from Kenya, Lebanon, Chile, Gambia and Senegal turned to Israeli technology and came up with a free “About Ebola” app. The app is designed to provide public health information outreach and communication, thereby educating the general public on Ebola.

This came amidst growing concern among health workers that the local communities in West Africa were not having enough accurate information about the Ebola virus. Thereby making health workers efforts to contain and eradicate the outbreak less effective.

The “About Ebola” mobile app was build using the Snapp apps builder technology, which is accredited to Vito Margiotta, Assaf Kindler and Gabriel Gurovich from the Singularity University.

The Snapp technology gives developers a free platform from which anyone with an idea can make a mobile app from any smartphone. It took the developers just 11 days to build the app, and the content for the app was obtained from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO.

The information was then translated into various African languages including Jola, Wolof and Swahili, by a volunteer team. The team also said that other African languages will be added since it is being crowd-sourced for the general public.

Kindler of Snapp to the Times of Israel said that the platform was very user friendly that adding more languages should be a simple task.

It’s essential that people understand exactly what is going on, and to do that you have to communicate with them in their own language. Using Snapp, anyone can build an app by clicking on a few buttons on their mobile device, so it was easy for the volunteers to install the languages into their app,” said Kindler.

It has also emerged that villagers with smartphones are highly regarded among the community.

In almost all these villages there are at least one or two people with smartphones, and they are very highly regarded, both for their ability to access information from the outside world, and for their acumen in acquiring a device in the first place. So when they tell villager that they should be doing a lot of washing with soap and water – one of the methods the app list as a way to prevent Ebola – the villagers are likely to listen,” Kindler further told Times of Israel.

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