mHealth Takes On Ebola In Nigeria

Erin McCann | Healthcare IT News | October 23, 2014

Country now declared by WHO to be Ebola-free

In what's being hailed as a "spectacular success story," the World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of the Ebola virus transmission, with public health agencies and government officials citing a mobile health initiative as largely responsible for the triumph.  Shortly after the WHO declared Africa's most populous country Ebola-free for 42 days Oct. 20, Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology Omobola Johnson credited a social media campaign and a real-time reporting Android app used during the outbreak as integral in containing the deadly virus.

"The phone app helped in reducing reporting times of infections by seventy-five percent," said Johnson, speaking at the International Telecommunication Union's Plenipotentiary Conference Oct. 21. "Test results were scanned to tablets and uploaded to emergency databases, and field teams got text message alerts on their phones informing them of the results."

The phone app, utilized by health workers in Nigeria, was provided by the Santa Ana, Calif.-based non-profit eHealth & Information Systems Nigeria. Mobile plans among Nigerians have skyrocketed from 87 million active users four years ago to more than 131 million now, Johnson pointed out, in her statement...