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Over US$4-million tech grant to fight malaria in Africa

Africa , 26 Apr 2019

Over US$4-million tech grant to fight malaria in Africa

Tech firms Tableau, Mapbox, Exasol, and Alteryx have teamed up to provide US$4.3-million worth of technology to help fight malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa in the next three years.

According to health organisation PATH, in 2017 an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred globally, which resulted in an estimated 435,000 deaths, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.

Under the organisation's Visualise No Malaria campaign, actionable data is collated in real-time using a geo-data visualisation dashboard that tracks malaria infections in specific regions. This information is then transferred to health ministries to empower thousands of frontline health workers.

The disease has been mapped out in Zambia since 2015.

The technology grants will target over 60 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Steve Davis, President and chief executive officer of PATH, said, "Successful malaria elimination programs require accurate data that moves faster than the disease itself - to help shorten the distance and time it takes to find and treat cases, and even to predict risk and direct resources before cases occur."

"We're excited to continue working with our technology partners to expand the support and tools governments need to get the upper hand in controlling and eventually eliminating a disease that still kills more than 400,000 people every year," he added.

According to PATH, the Zambian deployment of the technology has seen reported malaria cases reduced by 85% and malaria related deaths by 92%.

An excerpt from the report reads: "Reducing the amount of time to see and understand health data from months to hours, health officials can now make faster decisions about the best ways to deploy a mix of interventions, including drug delivery, indoor residual spraying, bed net distribution, and other proven techniques to most effectively respond to existing cases and prevent new ones."

Neal Myrick, Global Head of Tableau Foundation, added, "Since the outset of the Visualise No Malaria initiative, we've seen countries and communities develop incredibly effective resources for fighting malaria and other complex health issues."

In Senegal, the platform has also reduced the spread by 60% in the northern part of the country.

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