Can Analytics help fight Ebola?

The issue facing many countries that are both directly and indirectly effected is, how can we prevent the spread of Ebola?

The use of analytics in crisis and natural disasters is not a new phenomenon. In 2010 during the Haiti Earthquakes a research team made up of staff from Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Columbia University managed to map the spread of Cholera by mapping out mobile phone data.

What is happening in Africa?

Orange Telcom has handed over data from 150,000 mobile devices to a Swedish organisation in order to determine where people are moving. BBC found that this allowed authorities to see where to best place treatment centers and plan where to restrict, and prevent travel.

Nalini Joshi is a Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney. She stated during her appearance on Q&A that,

”The latest mathematical models from the CDC show that if you can isolate or hospitalise 70% of the infected patients by December, then the epidemic will be over in January. “So, it gives you a measure of what you can do to finish, to make sure that the epidemic doesn’t become a pandemic across the globe.”

She went on to say,

”It leads to a decision-making process, where you have to decide what resources you need to be able to hospitalise the 70% of infected patients that are expected by December. So it leads to all kinds of other branches, how many volunteers should you be sending, how many blankets and gowns and all of that should you send? So it gives you a measuring tool. It’s a ruler for deciding how to make the action happen.”

So, what does this all mean?

At the end of the day analytics within disaster control is a tool that empowers authorities to predict and properly plan. By providing quantitative analysis that is supported by data it reduces the need for spur of the moment gut feeling. This initiative and innovation used by authorities shows how analytics really can be used everywhere, and can help with disaster control.

Is it time for you to start using analytics?

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