Health Message

Sept 14, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has successfully done a trial project that helps early detection of killer communicable diseases using mobile phones to send data that also reduces costs, officials said. The ‘real-time bio-surveillance programme’ enables the rapid detection and notification of potential health outbreaks through mobile phones, software applications and a Web interface, said LIRNEasia, a regional information communications technology think tank.

It did the pilot project in Sri Lanka’s north-western Wayamba province with funds from International development Research centre of Canada, the Sarvodaya community-based organisation and several other local and foreign partners.

Saman Ratnayaka, a doctor who is the director of health services in the Wayamba province where the trial was done, said the mobile phone system helps speed up the flow of data and decision-making in the existing system.

The present system, although efficient, was set up during the late 19th century.

“We needed to speed up the flow of information,” Ratnayaka told a news conference.

“With the existing system it takes about 2-3 weeks to pass information to the epidemiological centre in Colombo. We’ve