Tag Archives: mobile phones

Using cellphone data to study the spread of cholera

Using cellphone data to study the spread of cholera | Source: Phys.org, May 23 2016 |

While cholera has hardly changed over the past centuries, the tools used to study it have not ceased to evolve. Using mobile phone records of 150,000 users, an EPFL-led study has shown to what extent human mobility patterns contributed to the spread of a cholera epidemic in Senegal in 2005.

vibriocholer

Scanning electron microscope image of V. cholerae. Credit: public domain

The researchers’ findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlight the critical role a mass gathering of millions of pilgrims played in spreading of the disease, and how measures to improve sanitation at transmission hotspots could decrease the progression of future outbreaks.

“There is a lot of hype around using big data from mobile phones to study epidemiology,” says senior author Enrico Bertuzzo, from the Ecohydrology Laboratory at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. This is largely due to the fact that can be used to reconstruct, with unprecedented detail, mobility fluxes of an entire population. “But I dare say that this is the first time that such data are exploited to their full potential in an epidemiological model.”

Cholera is an infectious disease that occurs primarily in developing countries with poor sanitation infrastructure. It spreads primarily via water that has been contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, present in the feces of infected people. Human mobility and waterways both contribute to spreading the disease among human communities, whereas heavy precipitation events increase the chances of the bacteria to contaminate sources. Researchers at EPFL have developed a mathematical simulation model that accounts for these factors, which they tested on past outbreaks such as the one in Haiti in 2010.

Read the complete article.

Mobile Phone App Pools Money Spent by Poor for Clean Water

Mobile Phone App Pools Money Spent by Poor for Clean Water |Source: Voice of America, March 9 2016 |

There’s nothing small about Akanksha Hazari’s ambitions. voa

Rising from living aboard a merchant ship to make ends meet with her family, to earning degrees at Princeton and Cambridge universities, Hazari says she wants to accomplish big things. At the top of that list: helping the many millions living in India’s poorest slums get access to clean water and sanitation, education and improved health care.

But Hazari doesn’t just dream big. In 2012, the 30-something Hazari developed a mobile phone application that’s helped tens of thousands of poor residents in Mumbai’s shantytowns to improve their lives and educate their children in just a few years.

It’s called m.Paani – “m” for mobile and “paani” an Indian word for water – and it’s earned Hazari numerous awards, including the prestigious Hult Prize awarded by former president Bill Clinton and, this week, the Global Leadership Award from the women’s empowerment organization Vital Voices.

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The role of mobile in improved sanitation access

The role of mobile in improved sanitation access - coverHow can mobile channels can support sanitation service delivery while building new engagement models with customers in underserved settings? A new report [1] by the GSMA Mobile for Development Utilities Programme reviews opportunities and case studies.

The report begins with an overview of global sanitation access in 2015 and the different approaches currently being used to improve access. This is followed by a review of the potential uses of mobile channels in the sanitation value chain including examples of current applications.

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India census: more people have a mobile phone than a household toilet

Nearly half of India’s 1.2 billion people have no toilet at home, but more people own a mobile phone, according to the latest census data.

Only 46.9% of the 246.6 million households have lavatories while 49.8% defecate in the open. The remaining 3.2% use public toilets.

Census of India 2011 – Availability and Type of Latrine Facility: 2001-2011

Census 2011 data on houses, household amenities and assets reveal that 63.2% of homes have a telephone. More than half the population – 53.2% – have a mobile phone.

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CLOO – new app uses social media to share toilets

This app turns any private toilet into a public toilet accessible to friends & friends of friends using social media connections, with the aim to solve the problem of too-few easily accessible toilets in cities. CLOO allows registered users to charge a small fee for the use of their toilet.

CLOO was developed by Hillary Young & Deanna McDonald.

For more info go to: www.cloo-app.com

India, New Delhi: using Facebook and SMS to keep the city clean

With this photo on Facebook local resident Akshay Arora asks the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to "kindly send some one and get it clean this Toilet/Urinal". One day later on 7 April 2011, MCD replied: "Your complaint reference no. is 02/0704/SP"

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) launched its Facebook page in January 2011 and an integrated SMS service in March 2011 to enable public monitoring of garbage collection sites and public urinals/toilets in areas under its jurisdiction.The first experiences were positive as illustrated by the example of 22-year-old Piyush Goyal posted his complaint of garbage spilling over from the dump in his area.

On January 8, he clicked pictures of the seven dirty ones in South Delhi’s R K Puram area and posted them on Facebook. And the next day, he says, he saw the pictures of clean dhalaos uploaded by the MCD.

“There is lot of transparency through this way. The man who actually cleans it asked me why I uploaded the pictures. So the information is going from top to the bottom,” says Goyal.

MCD additional commissioner (engineering) Anshu Prakash added:

“This system is increasing transparency, fixing accountability and putting everything under public scrutiny. And none of us like to be ashamed in public. So people have started working at the bottom”.

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Battling cholera with NFC RFID-tracked drinking water in Haiti 

Deep Springs International (DSI), a non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania, USA, and Nokia Research Center (NRC), Palo Alto, California, are teaming up to ensure the supply of clean drinking water in Haiti with NFC (near field communication) technology.

DSI has been delivering water treatment systems (which essentially consist of a covered 19-liter bucket with a spigot at the bottom) and a locally manufactured chlorine solution it has labeled Gadyen Dlo (Creole for "water guardian") since 2007.. Photo: Michael Ritter, DSI

Water treatment kits are being provided to track chlorine levels in household drinking water using NFC-enabled cell phones. NRC provided the health workers with approximately 50 Nokia 6212 NFC-enabled phones while UPM RFID supplied UPM BullsEye™ NFC tags with NXP Mifare Ultralight chip. Joseph “Jofish” Kaye, Senior Research Scientist, NRC, initiated the project together with David Holstius, a student and Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health, who developed the software application for mobile phones.

Families in the most rural areas in Haiti will have one water treatment kit consisting of a five-gallon (19 litre) plastic bucket with a lid and spigot. The RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags are attached to buckets for storing the treated drinking water and delivered to families together with a chlorine solution and written instructions for using the kit. When DSI’s water technicians visit their homes, they check whether they are using the kits properly and provide additional chlorine solutions. The technicians will read the tags using NFC cell phones loaded with software guiding them to ask relevant questions about the water being tested. They then send the data to DSI’s headquarters via SMS. The software application uses the Frontline SMS platform.

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India: land of many cell phones, fewer toilets

Rafiq Nagar, Mumbai. Every family has a cell phone, but no safe sanitation. Photo: Guy Walder, http://www.guywalder.com

In the wake of President Obama’s visit to India, AP journalist Ravi Nessman writes that “he will find a country of startlingly uneven development and perplexing disparities, where more people have cell phones than access to a toilet”.

Interestingly, Nessman ends his article by suggesting that the spread of cell phones could empower slum dwellers to demand better sanitation services.

The Mumbai slum of Rafiq Nagar has no clean water for its shacks made of ripped tarp and bamboo. No garbage pickup along the rocky, pocked earth that serves as a road. No power except from haphazard cables strung overhead illegally.

And not a single toilet or latrine for its 10,000 people.

Yet nearly every destitute family in the slum has a cell phone. Some have three.

[…]

It is a country buoyed by a vibrant business world of call centers and software developers, but hamstrung by a bloated, corrupt government that has failed to deliver the barest of services.

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Mobile phones ‘dirtier than toilet handles’

Mobile phones in the UK are covered with up to 18 times more living bacteria than the flush handle on a men’s lavatory, research suggests.

Bacteria can linger on a mobile phone surface. Photo: Which?

Swabs and analysis of 30 mobile handsets found that seven had high or warning levels of environmental bacteria, according to consumer group Which? One contained such an intense concentration of bacteria, including faecal coliforms, that anyone using it could have faced a serious stomach upset.

Which? said the findings suggest millions of UK mobiles would exceed the recommended acceptable levels of bacteria.

While not immediately harmful, elevated levels of bacteria indicate poor hygiene and can act as a breeding ground for more serious germs.

Hygiene expert Jim Francis told Which?: “The levels of potentially harmful bacteria on one mobile were off the scale. That phone needs sterilising.”

The tests showed how easily bacteria could linger on the surface of a phone, which could be passed on to other people if they held the handset to look at photos or other applications.

Which? advises that phones can be cleaned with an alcohol wipe.

Source: Telelgraph, 28 Jul 2010

Kenya: cell phones, Google Apps help bring basic sanitation and more transparency

Nuru International, a US-based nonprofit focused on pioneering holistic, sustainable solutions to poverty, is using some Google platforms and Nokia phones to increase sanitation in Kuria, Kenya.

The organization has registered a Kenyan web domain name and created an account with Google Apps, providing access to each of the 60 Kenyan staff members. GPRS-enabled handsets have been purchased for about $40 apiece, and using these phones they can email one another very inexpensively.

“We’re using the best technology available to reach our farmers. Nokia made a great phone. Safaricom built a strong GPRS network. Opera coded a superb browser. And Google made a truly remarkable suite of applications. They’re all unintentionally working together with Nuru. According to our motto, we’re bringing the best of the best to serve the poorest of the poor.” Said David Carreon, Nuru Healthcare Project Manager.

“We use the phones during data collection for sanitation and hygiene and also the Community Healthcare Workers instead of writing use the phone to submit data. “ Said Nelly Andega, Nuru Health Care Manager.

The teams use the cameras on the phone to photograph and video the sites they’re supervising and upload the images, keeping a permanent and searchable record of all their supervision activities. And, the use of Google Sheet is keeping their organization paper free, further reducing the cost of operations from supplies to office space.

Read more about the technologies used in David Carreon’s blog post “Farmers Fighting Poverty with Nokia Google Opera and Safaricom“, 20 May 2010

Another unexpected advantage of the use of cell phones is increased transparency. Google forms on the phone are now used to register attendance at important trainings. “Even the Water and Sanitation Representatives [volunteer community educators] have come earlier”, says Eliza, a Water and Sanitation Field Manager. “They know that the phone records the time that I submit whether they are on time, late or absent. So, they don’t even ask me to change their records anymore. With the phones, there is no cheating.”

Web site: Nuru International – Water & Sanitation

Source: Jaymi Heimbuch, Planet Green, 21 May 2010 ; Nicole Scott, Nuru Water and Sanitation blog, 01 Jun 2010