All problems can be turned into a data problem, and the subject of malaria is no different
Malaria is one of the world’s most ruthless killers. It ends one child’s life every 30 seconds, equating to roughly 3,000 children every day. In total, malaria kills over one million people each year, with 90 per cent of cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa.
The disease might seem to present an insurmountable challenge, but as medical research continues and technology enables new breakthroughs, there’s a real possibility that one day, malaria may be eradicated. In fact, the fight against malaria is already well under way and technology is at the forefront.
A pledge to eradicate malaria
Earlier this year, technology businesses – including Tableau, Exasol, Alteryx and MapBox – combined to renew their pledge to make a stand against malaria by making a $4.3 million (£3.4 million) technology contribution over the next three years to the project Visualize No Malaria (VNM). The project is run by the PATH foundation and aims to eradicate malaria with the help of data and analytics. This contribution will not just go towards helping stop the spread of malaria in Zambia, which was the original focus of the VNM project, but it will also be used to help deliver the project in Senegal and the surrounding countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in an effort to eliminate the disease from the region.
Data analytics might not seem like a natural aid in the war against malaria, but as Steve Davis, President and CEO of PATH explains, “successful malaria elimination programmes require accurate data that moves faster than the disease itself—to help shorten the distance and the time it takes to find and treat cases, and even to predict risk and direct resources before cases occur.”