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Mobile health apps that are fighting the war against the Ebola epidemic

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Recent official updates on Ebola statistics by the WHO show 23,539 registered cases and 941 deaths from this deadly virus. Globally, teams of researchers in laboratories are sweating to find an established and effective way to cure the dying population. News of probable cures is making news, but a credible cure is still awaited. Recently, WHO approved 15 minutes test along with some medical treatments for Ebola. Still, this lethal virus is weighing heavy on medical advancements with their present capabilities.

How apps are making themselves useful

Ebola sample

The most vital aspect to find a cure, and find it fast, researchers are in desperate need of as much data as possible regarding the Ebola-hit population. Further, scientists are using supercomputers to scan enormous amount of electronic data available in chemical libraries all around the world. However, present facilities appear to be insufficient to meet the pace required to find cure.

IT and smartphone technologies have extended a lot of help in terms of collecting data, tracking the spread of the deadly virus, early information on registration of a case from any part of the world, and deliver additional capacity to process data stored in various computers on chemicals.

Smartphones are portable, and therefore, applications can go wherever a health worker goes. While IBM’s app is using fundamentals of ‘distributed computing’ to deliver additional processing power to researchers, a few others are also providing a much needed helping hand to track the patterns of spread in form of apps that collect required data and deliver awareness on Ebola including guidelines for health workers.


Image Source : Ventures-Africa.Com

Furthermore, apps like ‘ISurvivedEbola’ have emerged as a community for those who are either suffering from Ebola or have survived it. Survivors and victims share their stories, feelings, and messages of hope and belief.

These apps are being used very effectively to collect organized data on Ebola and are easily available for sharing with researchers around the world. Some apps work both, online and offline, so that areas devoid of mobile networks aren’t left behind.

Top apps to help beat Ebola

  1. IBM app to fight Ebola


Perhaps, it’s one of the incredible ideas to invite donation for IT processing power to a virtual supercomputer that’ll further help researchers identify new leads to treat the virus. The app is available free for use on desktop and android devices. The app simply uses your device’s processing power when it’s idle, which in turn is used to scan enormous chemical compounds and their combinations in laboratories around the globe.

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According to IBM, “For the first time, anyone can help scientists perform this critical research – no financial contribution, passport or PhD necessary. In fact, volunteers can be asleep, travelling or on a coffee break when they help researchers search for an Ebola cure.”

  1. Ebola – What you need to know

app Ebola

International SOS medical experts have come up with the app Ebola – What you need to know, which is available for free and works well with all Android and iOS devices. The app is aimed at empowering individuals by providing them real facts on Ebola and help clearing doubts and rumors about infection. A user gets latest news and developments, outbreak outlook, maps depicting affected areas, educational videos for prevention including access to SOS Ebola website. The service is available 24×7, both online and offline.

  1. UNICEF’s mHero and RapidPro

mHero by UNICEF

RapidPro – an app store for good, developed by UNICEF’s global Innovations Labs in collaboration with Nyuruka, was launched as an open-source platform of applications in order to assist governments deliver real-time information quickly along with linking communities to lifesaving services. Using this platform, UNICEF has developed and launched a mobile app named mHero (Mobile Health Worker Ebola Response and Outreach) to help fight the epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives globally, with more than 1,500 in Liberia alone.

In such a condition, mHero will help reporting new cases, disseminate information regarding prevention and care, share training information along with delivering real-time coordination between the govt. and the healthcare workforce.

Other than these top contributions, the Ebola survivors can also share their survival tales with other victims using these community-driven apps. #ISurvivedebola is one such reserve of exclusive tales narrated by Ebola survivals.

For instance, Pa Santigie, a survivor posts, “After the death of my first wife, I reported myself to the hospital even before showing signs and symptoms. I spent two weeks at the treatment center, taking my medication. I am happy to say I survived Ebola and now work as a contact tracer and task force member for Ebola in my community. Please avoid touching the sick or dead to stop the spread of Ebola.”


Presently, a number of apps are contributing a lot to help fight Ebola. eHealth has delivered mobile devices equipped with apps and other tools to worst-hit countries in West Africa like Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

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