Malaria causes about 655,000 deaths each year, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. Many victims are children under the age of 5. This dangerous blood disease, caused by a parasite, is transmitted to humans and animals via mosquito bites. Africa is a part of the world that is deeply affected by this very disease.
Now, with the help of cell phone location data, researchers have been able to map precisely how human travel affects the spread of malaria in Kenya in east Africa.
The study captured the travel habits of nearly 15 million Kenyans between June 2008 and June 2009. 11,920 cell towers watched their movements. The data was then mapped against the incidence of malaria as recorded by health officials.
The study found that malaria outbreaks during that period were located heavily in Kenya’s Lake Victoria region and spread east toward the capital of Nairobi. This information suggested that health officials pinpoint their efforts to combat the disease in this specific Lake Victoria region, as it seems to be the area where it originated.
This study shows how cell phone use can improve public health. For more information on how technology is changing healthcare, call Wax Custom Communications at 305-350-5700 or visit waxcom.com.