DKT Ethiopia is an affiliate of DKT International, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide couples with affordable and safe options for family planning and HIV prevention in 19 low- and middle-income countries. In Ethiopia, DKT uses social marketing to distribute three brands of condoms (and eight variants), three oral contraceptive pills, two IUDS, two injectables, one brand of emergency contraception and several other health products.
It was in 2007 that DKT Ethiopia started using GIS (Geographic Information System), a tool to display and analyze sales, finance and inventory information geographically and, particularly, to plot every one of its 30,000+ direct and indirect sales outlets. This has made an enormous difference in DKT's ability to know how its contraceptive sales are going in every corner of Ethiopia.
The higher the percentage of people in a city, town or neighborhood with Facebook interests suggesting a healthy, active lifestyle, the lower that area's obesity rate. At the same time, areas with a large percentage of Facebook users with television-related interests tend to have higher rates of obesity. Such are the conclusions of a study by Boston Children's Hospital researchers comparing geotagged Facebook user data with data from national and New York City-focused health surveys.
- Children's Hospital
In order to reach the most at-risk children, the Gates Foundation has helped implement a satellite mapping technique, to ensure house-to-house vaccinators use aren't missing any villages or settlements. In some cases, they also equip the vaccination teams with cellphone GPS devices to record where they've gone.
"We take the GPS tracks from cellphones and overlay that onto the assignment, to make absolutely sure that they've gone where they were supposed to go, which helps get the coverage level up," Gates says. "The difference between 85% coverage and 90% coverage is the difference between not succeeding and succeeding."
The disease in question is polio. We did something like this when fighting malaria in South Africa in 1995. I'm curious how The Gates Foundation enhanced it beyond using cell phones vs. the hand held GPS units and bicycles the locals used.
Despite this long history [since Snow], however, efforts to plot the locations of infectious diseases still tend to be reactive rather than proactive. And while local outbreaks are regularly and thoroughly mapped, the broader landscape is far murkier. According to a team of scientists led by Simon Hay from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, only 4 percent of important infectious diseases have been comprehensively mapped at a global scale. The rest are plagued by patchy data.