February 26, 2018 / 10:13 AM / 22 days ago

Vodafone's mobile data to be deployed to fight epidemics in Ghana

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Mobile data will be used in Ghana to track and control epidemics, helping prevent a repeat of the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, in a pioneering program announced by Vodafone Foundation on Monday.  

FILE PHOTO: The Vodafone logo can be seen on top of a building outside Madrid, Spain, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Andrea Comas/File Photo

The initiative will use aggregated anonymized mobile data to track real-time trends in population movement, the charitable arm of the British mobile operator said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

The level of activity at each mobile phone mast will provide a heat map of where people are and how far they are moving during an outbreak, while the data gathered will be used for decision-making in a number of areas - including health, agriculture and transportation, it said.

Vodafone Group External Affairs Director Joakim Reiter said the company would use its mobile technology and data to measure human mobility and model how infections spread. 

“This has the potential to save thousands of lives,” Reiter said. 

The program, which will launch later this year, will be funded by the Vodafone Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Vodafone Foundation said. 

Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Louise Heavens

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