Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Mission To STOP Ebola! IBM, Airtel, Echo Mobile join forces in West Africa

Airtel, IBM Research Africa and Kenya's Echo Mobile have partnered to launch several initiatives in an aim to help curb the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

The initiatives include a citizen engagement and analytics system in Sierra Leone that enables communities affected by Ebola to communicate their issues and concerns directly to the government; a donation of IBM Connections technology in Nigeria to strengthen the Lagos State government's preparedness for future disease outbreaks; and a global platform for sharing Ebola-related open data.

The efforts combine expertise from IBM's global network of research labs with the company's years of experience in humanitarian disaster response by applying mobile technology, data analytics and cloud computing to help governments and relief agencies as they seek to contain the deadly disease.

The work benefits from contributions from a number of partners including Sierra Leone's Open Government Initiative, Cambridge University's Africa's Voices project, Airtel and Kenya's Echo Mobile.

Actionable insight IBM's new Africa research lab, in collaboration with Sierra Leone's Open Government Initiative, has developed a system that enables citizens to report Ebola-related issues and concerns via SMS or voice calls. It provides actionable insight to the government about the day-to-day experiences of communities directly affected by Ebola to help improve its strategy for containing the disease.

"For us to tackle Ebola, it is crucial to maintain an open dialogue between the government and the people of Sierra Leone," said Khadija Sesay Director of Sierra Leone's Open Government Initiative. "IBM has enhanced our work on citizen engagement through the use of innovative technology and opened up an effective communication channel with the general public so that we can learn from their input and create actionable policies in the fight against Ebola."

Telco operator, Airtel has set up the toll-free number via which citizens are able to send SMS messages.

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