IBM Launches Humanitarian Initiatives to Help Contain Ebola Outbreak in Africa

Taps data and citizen engagement against the spread of disease

IBM Research

IBM has launched several initiatives to help curb the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

They 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.

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.

“As Africa’s first technology research lab, we are uniquely positioned to use innovation to help tackle some of the continent’s biggest challenges,” said Dr. Uyi Stewart, Chief Scientist, IBM Research – Africa. “We saw the need to quickly develop a system to enable communities directly affected by Ebola to provide valuable insight about how to fight it. Using mobile technology, we have given them a voice and a channel to communicate their experiences directly to the government.”

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