Cambodians prevent spread of malaria via SMS and Google Earth

Cambodia is one of the countries that suffer fatal diseases like malaria. This year is like a déjà vu to a lot of Cambodians as malaria is spreading fast. But unlike the previous years, the national and local governments seem to be more prepared this year. However, instead of fast-treatment solution, the government has actually prepared on how to prevent the spread of the disease through the use of mobile phones and Google Earth.

The country has established a dedicated line to receive text messages about suspected malaria cases. The people have been advised to use their mobile phones to report malaria cases in their villages. Once a report is received, they will be plotted using Google Earth and reports will be sent immediately to higher ops so that medical support will be dispatch immediately. This reporting process is no way sophisticated but it is effective in preventing the spread of the disease. It also shows significant drop in fatalities this year.

Malaria kills more than 600,000 people each year worldwide and Cambodia has always been one of the countries with highest fatalities. In 2009, there were approximately 4,000 malaria patients who died. While the fatality rate dropped in 2010 and 2011, there were still more than a thousand patients who were reported to die because of the disease. This year, out of 108,000 reported cases, only 96 died. While the numbers would still go up until this year is over, I think it wouldn’t be that much as compared to previous years.

Before, medical support will arrive weeks or months after the reports were received. Today, it would take a few hours or days. Thanks to the joint efforts of Mobitel, for providing free SIM cards, and the Cambodian government.

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