NetHope: Mobile Health Tools to Support Disease Control

This solution addresses poorly tracked disease contact points in Guinea for health workers, exposed populations

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Problem Description

Tracking the spread of disease requires extremely fast coordination of resources and information. When a disease outbreak gets particularly large, thousands of contact points may need to be monitored at a single time. The traditional paper based system that reviews the contact point information is often encumbered by bureaucratic process and lack of accountability. A tool that doctors can use to fix these issues is a smartphone based mobile health (mHealth) information system. Such a tool was used in Guinea to monitor the Ebola outbreak of December 2013.

Building Blocks


As with most solutions centered around a piece of technology, there were considerable barriers to implementation for the mobile health tool. Given the remoteness of some of the implementation locations, it was difficult to administer proper training and support. This being said, the tool's improvements to response time and tracking activities seem to outweigh these high implementation costs. To date, the mobile health tool has not completely replaced the traditional paper based system in the 5 prefectures that it is used in. But the system is still being used by 210 contact tracers to monitor 9162 contacts. With proper training, some investment in technical hardware, and adequate managerial oversight, there is potential for the expanded use of this tool.

Sustainable Development Goals

On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. This solution covers the following goals:

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Social Progress Index

  • Nutrition and Basic Medical Care - Do people have enough food to eat and are they receiving basic medical care?
  • Access to Information and Communications - Can people freely access ideas and information from anywhere in the world?
  • Health and Wellness - Do people live long and healthy lives?
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    Organisations Involved

    Contributed By

    • Cindil Redick, Earth Institute at Columbia University
    • Jilian A Sacks, Earth Institute at Columbia University
    • Elizabeth Zehe, Earth Institute at Columbia University
    • Alhoussaine Bah, Millennium Promise
    • Kai Cowger, Millennium Promise
    • Mamady Camara, Millenium Promise
    • Aboubacar Diallo, Millenium Promise
    • Anne Liu, Earth Institute at Columbia University
    • Abdel Nasser Iro Gigo, Millenium Promise
    • Ranu S Dhillon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, National Ebola Coordination Unit

    Solution Stage

    One of the 7 stages of an innovation. Learn more
    Making the case4
    Business development and evaluation
    • Market sizing, development and testing
    • Business case analysis
    • Identifying cashable savings
    • Prepare to adapt approach, based on evaluation results and user feedback
    • Grant funding or funding out of investment
    A stronger case with cost and benefit projections developed through practical trials and experiments, involving potential users
    Clarity about what warrants implementation and funding

    Key Details

    Social Progress Index
    Nutrition and Basic Medical CareAccess to Information and CommunicationsHealth and Wellness
    Sustainable Development Goals
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