AfyaData: Bill Gates’s Hero in the Field

December 18, 2021

Meet the heroes in Africa fighting back against this pandemic—and working to prevent the next one

Even as the world seeks to end the current COVID-19 pandemic, we need to also be thinking about how to prevent future pandemics. That’s just what a mobile app called Afyadata is helping health officials do in Tanzania. Designed by the SACIDS Foundation for One Health, Afyadata is a digital surveillance tool that allows health workers and even ordinary people to serve as disease detectives. Users can report unusual health occurrences not only in humans, but also animals. Monitoring animals is critical because most new pathogens start in animals before they spread and sicken humans. With the app, farmers can easily report any suspicious illness among their livestock to health officials, who can then quickly follow up with further investigation, if necessary. While this app is still being piloted in several districts of Tanzania and other parts of Africa, it has already been effective in the detection and identification of several small disease outbreaks. I look forward to learning more about Afyadata’s progress.

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