RVC partners phones in Africa
9 August 2010
Maasai vets are preparing to use Google Android devices, Google’s powerful smartphone with a range of innovative features, to monitor diseases in East Africa.
Google donated 23 G1 Android devices to Massai vets for a new project in rural Kenya led by Vetaid, a charity founded and backed by a team including members of the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).
The vets will use the Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities of the phones to record and monitor how diseases, such as anthrax, are spreading, in an attempt to bolster preventive action, such as vaccination campaigns.
Nick Short, a founder of Vetaid and head of eMedia at the RVC, says, “Mobile phones are now commonplace in Africa and their use for disease monitoring and control could provide enormous benefits to animal and human health in the future.”
The G1 Android devices will be given to community animal health workers in remote areas where access to vets is limited. The devices will be used to document and monitor various diseases that affect both animals and humans.
A mobile data collection tool ‘EpiCollect’, created by researchers from Imperial College London, has been loaded onto the devices and helps vets and farmers develop a much clearer picture of the diseases affecting their animals.
Maasai vets and Vetaid team at Google HQ collecting their Android phones
Dr. Ezra Saitori, a Maasai vet working in Kenya for Vetaid, says, “Using the mobile phones will help us pinpoint the location and origin of an illness or disease, so we can develop a proper solution and contain a further spread.”
A Google spokesperson added, “Google UK is proud to back such a worthwhile and innovative project. We hope that, with help from our technology, animal and human disease in Africa can be reduced and vets can gain an increased medical understanding into the origins of these diseases.”
The project is a collaboration between Vetaid, the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), Imperial College London, the Institute of Education and the London International Development Centre.
Notes to Editors
- More details about the project can be found on the blog at http://androidsinafrica.blogspot.com/
- The EpiCollect application was designed by researchers at the School of Public Health, Imperial College London and involves Dr David Aanensen, Dr Derek Huntley, Jon Evans and Prof Brian G Spratt and is funded by The Wellcome Trust
- Google staff in the UK were asked to donate their G1 Android phones as they are now upgrading to the latest Nexus phone.
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The Royal Veterinary College
Established in 1791, the RVC is the UK’s longest-standing veterinary college—with a proud heritage of innovation in veterinary science, clinical practice and education.