A 21st century approach to tackling dengue: Crowdsourced surveillance, predictive mapping and tailored communication.

Journal Title: 
Publication Date: 
Jan 06, 2016

This paper describes a social media system to prevent dengue in Sri Lanka and potentially in the rest of the South and Southeast Asia regions. The system integrates three concepts of public health prevention that have thus far been implemented only in silos. First, the predictive surveillance component uses a computer simulation to forewarn health authorities and the general public about impending disease outbreaks. The civic engagement component allows the general public to use social media tools to interact and engage with health authorities by aiding them in surveillance efforts by reporting symptoms, mosquito bites and breeding sites using smartphone technologies. The health communication component utilizes citizen data gathered from the first two components to disseminate customized health awareness messages to enhance knowledge and increase preventive behaviors among citizens. The system, known as "Mo-Buzz," will be made available on a host of digital platforms like simple mobile phones, smart phones and a website. We present challenges and lessons learnt including content validation, stakeholder collaborations and applied trans-disciplinary research.