The fight against malaria, Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases is being crowdsourced thanks to a new initiative by the United Nations. The UN Environment Programme has launched the platform with its partners in the hopes of finally putting an end to nearly 3 million deaths each year from these diseases.
The Global Mosquito Alert is a collaboration that will allow people on the ground to share information and observations. This data can then be accessed in real time by governments, medical organisations, voluntary organisations, policymakers and scientists. When added to existing medical databases, government sources and public health records it should provide the most complete picture of the effects of mosquitos across the world.
The World Health Organisation says that mosquitos cause up to 500 million medical cases a year and hails the Global Mosquito Alert as “the first platform dedicated to citizen science techniques to tackle the monitoring of mosquito populations.”
Harnessing the power of cloud computing and big data along with the observations and participation of those on the ground is an exciting move forward in tackling malaria and other diseases. This sort of network has the potential to be used in other situations too. Real-time data is essential for bigger agencies to be able to act swiftly and with the biggest impact.
It’s an exciting development of which there will hopefully be more to come. The Gardiner Foundation is particularly interested in the ways that citizens can use entrepreneurial solutions to tackle the biggest issues in their communities and we are always looking at ways we can support that growth.