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The Ultimate Worlds | May 21, 2018

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Cell Phone Data Against Malaria

Cell Phone Data Against Malaria
Staff Reporter

Recently Southampton University researchers have used mobile phone data to understand spreading of Malaria in African countries. The use of mobile data could be very effective against malaria, according to a recent study conducted in Namibia.

Rely on the rise of mobile phones in Africa to eventually eliminate malaria: it’s been the perception by researchers at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and the National Vector- Diseases Control Programme (NVDCP the national fight against vector-borne diseases) in Namibia. Their work would be published in the Malaria Journal.

According to the World Health Organization in 2012, malaria was responsible for 627,000 deaths and is a real scourge for sub-Saharan Africa, with 80% of registered cases.

1190000 Telephone subscribers in Namibia.

DATA: Narrow endemic areas is not easy: the data on travel patterns of men in endemic areas are at present too limited. The only currently available data are from surveys conducted locally and migration data based on the census.

To fill this gap , researchers have used anonymous mobile recordings to measure the movements of population between 2010 and 2011. They thus collected more than 9 billion communications via the ISP SMOBILE Telecommunications Limited , derived from 1.19 million subscribers in Namibia , 52% of the total population. These data were used to reconstruct the movements of mobile users between urban and rural areas.

Help the authorities to intervene in areas at risk:

AREAS: By combining these data with information on cases diagnosed malaria , topography and climate of the country, the researchers were able to geographically identify the areas most at risk . “Global and rapid proliferation of mobile phones facilitates the study of the movement of people, says Andy Tatem, lead author of the study and geographer at the University of Southampton. These data, combined with information on diagnosed cases of malaria can help authorities to intervene in areas at risk and planning process. ”

“Understanding the movement of people is crucial to design a strategy to eradicate malaria, says Andy Tatem, lead author of the study and geographer at the University of Southampton. Attempts to eradicate the disease in a region can be ruined by the movement of highly mobile populations could rapidly reintroduce the parasites that cause malaria.”