Smartphones to help map dengue-hit areas

A mosquito is shown in this 2006 Center for Disease Control (CDC) handout file photograph. — Reuters/file— AFP/file

KARACHI: The Sindh health department has provided 42 smartphones to the dengue prevention and control programme for digital mapping of dengue-infected neighbourhoods, it emerged on Saturday.

Officials said that mobile phones enabled with dedicated software would be used to detect the neighbourhoods infected with dengue larva, photograph and chart them and wire them to a control room, which would record it on its servers and disseminate them to health facilities concerned, organisations and research bodies.

Besides, the officials said, many more gadgets were being examined to be part of a planned massive effort to keep dengue’s harm to a minimum level.

They added that the record, which had not been maintained since last year after the abolition of the dengue surveillance cell, would be kept with more information about patients in Sindh and the rest of the country.

They said that the provincial health department had already selected a reputable laboratory which would assist the programme in analysing the larva, its hazards and effective measures to eradicate the disease.

The dengue control programme is also seeking the assistance of Suparco (Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission) and awaiting the latter’s reply to its request.

It is learnt that the programme would start its proceedings in Karachi because of the fact that the city had historically been the key victim of dengue since it effectively emerged in the country 10 years ago. They, however, said soon after the digital mapping began in Karachi, the districts of Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Thatta and Larkana would be targeted.

All those districts had produced dengue victims during the past two years.

The officials said dengue affected more than 1,500 people last year and 17 of them died of the mosquito-borne disease.

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