Big data and mobile technology for health emergencies in Brazil and LMIC countries

Theme: Environmental Physics & Mathematical Modelling

Primary Supervisor:

Patty Kostkova

Earth Sciences, UCL

Patty Kostkova's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Kate Jones

Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL

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Project Description:

Mobile technology has revolutionaries health throughout the world, especially in low and middle income countries (LMIC) suffering frequent outbreaks of tropical diseases – zika and dengue (Brazil), natural disasters (Nepal) or conflicts and rapid population migrations and displacements (Middle East, Central America). Poor underfunded infrastructure, inadequate capacity, socio-cultural and geographical barriers in accessing healthcare make it difficult for populations and health authorities to prepare and respond to large-scale emergencies
The project will explore mobile technology user-centred design, data science, IoT, participate approaches and healthcare systems to predict and respond to outbreaks, improve community engagement during emergencies and rapid movements due to disaster and conflict.
In particular, the project may focus on the intersection of public health, mobile technology and climate modelling to evaluate the impacts of environmental changes on water providing breeding habitats for mosquitoes in Northeast Brazil. Spatial-temporal models will be developed to predict the burden of mosquito populations leveraging multiple data sources from newly acquired climate, weather, mosquito surveillance, water and sanitation and socioeconomic data. This technology will include the use of mobile surveillance apps using gamification and citizen science technology co-developed with local stakeholders for reporting locations of water breeding points in Brazil.

The project will draw upon ongoing research initiatives and collaboration with institutions in Brazil, South America, Middle East and Nepal.

Policy Impact of Research:

Through the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and the UCL IRDR Centre for Digital Health in Emergencies (dPHE) in collaboration with overseas partners, the project will improve the understanding of the use of big data and mobile technology for communication with the public using multidisciplinary approaches to help improve health preparedness and response measures.


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