In the Sindh province of Pakistan, people there are trying to prepare for the launch of the dengue prediction system based on surveillance data gathered in a real time using a smartphone app and fed into a spatial of geographical model. Pakistan has already suffered an outbreak of dengue fever last 2013 in the district of Khyber Pakthunkhwa. There has been about a total of 6376 suspected cases and a total of 23 deaths. According to the results of the laboratory test performed at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad, Pakistan, there are three sero types of dengue fever (DEN-1, DEN-2 and DEN-3) as the causative strain of the outbreak. Ever since the outbreak the Pakistani government had been trying to come up with measures in order to further prevent the harms caused by dengue. Currently Karchi, the provincial capital and other cities in Sindh- a province with a population of 45 million people- depend on blanket fumigation drives and ‘fogging’ with chemicals to reduce populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquity, the primary dengue vector.
The dengue survellaince model using spatial technology was designed by the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission. According to Shakil Malik, head of Sindh’s dengue control programme, that the spatial mapping using geographical information systems (GIS) helps identify disease hotspots so that possible outbreaks can be pre-empted. This would reduce the possibility of killing Pakistanis. The larvae collected from hotspots can be genotyped to identify virus strains allowing prompt and precise intervention. This technology gives comfort to Pakistanis unlike what Vietnam comfort women have experienced. This is never the first time that a smartphone-driven programme has been useful in trying to prevent the outbreak of dengue. In fact during the 2011 outbreak in Lahore, people depended on the use of their smartphones. The app could give an early warning to be distributed to workers and government officials.
Images by Sydney Morning Herald and Sunday Times