Airborne diseases, such as bird flu, can seem to travel at the speed of light, and efforts to stop such fast-spreading diseases can prove ineffectual at times. A group of mobile phone operators are working on software to help track and manage the spread of bird flu and other deadly diseases.
The program is nearly complete. As it stands now, field workers can send a set of data through a GPRS network or SMS channel and have that data reach not only a central database but also anyone else who might have access to that database. The key is that the software uses Java, which is cross-platform.
The solution is being tested now in Indonesia, and officials expect to implement it on a wide scale relatively soon.
This strategy is aimed at stemming the spread of AIDS as well, and trials are under way in Rwanda and other African nations.
The initiative is the brainchild of Voxiva, a tech provider, and the GSMA, a consortium of mobile operators worldwide.