Nigeria’s fastest growing telecommunications company, Etisalat in line with its commitment to innovation and the use of Mobile Technology to enable Health in Nigeria, has partnered with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) to deploy android based Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications for the mapping of polio risk areas and tracking of routes covered by Polio immunization teams during vaccinations in the country.
The polio tracking application is designed to help achieve safe threshold of vaccinating at least 85% of the child population in risk areas, a threshold that public health scientists consider sufficient to prevent further polio recurrence. The first phase of this application will be deployed to polio high risk areas in the Northern parts of Nigeria.
The application, which depends on Etisalat’s reliable data services and innovative Gaga Smartphones, tracks areas covered by vaccinators in high risk polio locations and upload acquired tracks into an Esri ArcGIS server, via GPS. Uploaded server information are used for map creation (risk mapping) and generation of automated reports, which can show the distribution of risk, success, activities, findings, and plans, for polio teams, program managers, donors, and other stakeholders.
Speaking on the partnership, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Wael Ammar commended the efforts that have been made so far by the Federal, State and Local Governments as well as individuals and NGO’s. He however highlighted the importance of the polio monitoring application which helps in tracking the risk areas. He said, “Polio eradication effort is not only about the disease, but also about delivering an innovative and effective solution and leveraging the opportunity of mHealth that will help prevent a serious disease that depends on a functioning health system to succeed. This application will significantly improve the chances of identifying and eradicating polio in Nigeria. .”
With the growth in number of polio cases detected in Nigeria lately, a holistic approach towards eradicating the disease has been put in place by Esri in partnership with the United Nations and World Health Organization and supported using technology from Etisalat which could be one of the most innovative approaches to mHealth in Nigeria The initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute, viral, infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route. The term derives from the Greek poliosmeaning "grey", myelós, referring to the "spinal cord", and the suffix -itis, which denotes inflammation