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A new mobile phone application is being tested to streamline data sharing on trachoma. It is being piloted in the Oromia region of Ethiopia as part of an initiative to map trachoma prevalence, with health workers collecting demographic information (such as age and gender), taking note of who has trachoma, and entering data into a cell phone.
Alex Pavluck, epidemiologist and senior manager of research information technology at the International Trachoma Initiative, expects the tool will make data collection faster and easier for teams doing difficult work in the field. ‘We tried to take the technology out of the way and make the focus on the data,' he said. ‘The data can be collected, transmitted immediately and summarised to the website instantaneously.'
‘The app's value is in its ability to take the data from being stuck in some local electronic system or a stack of surveys on somebody's desk or office in some remote location to a central server that can make the data widely accessible to many people who can review the data as its being collected,' according to Pavluck. ‘This allows managers to manage projects off-site and changes in strategy based on the data as the data is being collected.'
Source: International Trachoma Initiative and Trachoma Matters