One of the fastest ways to prevent the spread of deadly diseases like Ebola is to catalog instances on a map. This enables emergency planners to monitor the scope of an outbreak and allocate resources to prevent loss of life.
Maps also help community members and aid workers locate clean water, medical facilities, latrines, burial sites, and safe travel routes.
Being able to share this information quickly between agencies is vital to coordinating an effective response to an outbreak, and mobile apps that share data in real time or near-real time can be an invaluable tool.
Both are available for use at no cost with Fulcrum Community.
Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo
A new outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), declared on Aug. 1, 2018, has killed close to 100 people in the province of North Kivu and infected about 50 more, according to the Red Cross.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever that is spread via direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person or a body of someone who has died from it. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure.
Ebola kills, on average, about half of the people who contract it, though the death rate largely depends on the resources available to patients and doctors. This means the disease tends to be more deadly in poor countries like DRC than in Europe or the United States.
There have been more than 30 known Ebola outbreaks, including 9 in the DRC before this one, which was identified just weeks after the last outbreak in the DRC was declared over.
Making matters worse, the current outbreak lies near a dangerous conflict zone, which is hampering aid efforts.
“It’s a complex operation because of the insecurity in the region, because of the difficult access, and also because of the behavior of the population in affected areas,” said Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore. “It really has reduced our access in communities because we can’t go everywhere.”
Cholera Outbreaks in Zimbabwe and Nigeria
Meanwhile, outbreaks of Cholera have killed dozens — and infected thousands — of people in Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
Cholera is a disease caused by a bacterial infection of the intestine. While symptoms can be mild, 10-20% of infected people develop acute diarrhea and vomiting, which can cause severe dehydration, shock, and death.
The disease is usually transmitted through food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person, or person-to-person via contact with contaminated hands. Symptoms typically appear within 2-3 days.
Because the incubation period is so short, Cholera cases can rise quickly. And since the first 24 hours of the disease’s manifestation are the most dangerous (deadly dehydration can occur in as few as 12 hours), a rapid response is crucial to contain an outbreak.
A No-Cost Crowdsourcing Tool
Fulcrum Community was created for use in emergencies like these. Government agencies, humanitarian groups, and other nonprofits employ our powerful mobile data collection platform at no cost to help communities recovering from natural disasters or dealing with deadly outbreaks.
Organizations that have successfully used Fulcrum include the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Malaria Consortium.
If you’re in an area experiencing an outbreak of Ebola, Cholera, or other infectious disease and want to help, sign up for a Fulcrum Community account here.
Download the Cholera Field Level Monitoring Form
Download the Ebola Infection Data Form
Fulcrum is a data collection platform that enables businesses to reduce costs, access critical data in real time, and improve decision making at every level. With Fulcrum, you can create custom apps using our simple drag-and-drop builder to turn your paper documents into digital forms that your field teams can quickly complete on mobile devices.