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Disease control gets tech injection

An international health NGO has launched a new “crowd-sourcing” surveillance system to be used by the government in monitoring infectious diseases.

Designed by Asia iLab, the research arm of US-based InSTEDD, the online database and 24/7 hotline – which sick citizens can use to log symptoms and access information about various infectious diseases, such as H5N1 – went live on Friday.

The call-in feature uses an open-source tool known as Verboice, designed by the firm and used before in Cambodia to assist women in post-abortion care.

The new toolkit was built for the Ministry of Health’s Communicable Disease Control Department (CDCD). Officials there could not be reached yesterday.

According to InSTEDD communications manager Tharum Bun, the toolkit will “allow the CDCD to keep track, predict, analyse or investigate, and contain potential outbreaks”.

"Based on information crowd-sourced from health centres and citizens, CDCD is better equipped to respond faster,” he added.

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