The World Health Organization has recently been investing in mobile phone technology as a tool to address health concerns. In fact, there are a multitude of apps and smartphone accessories being developed that are improving everyday life around the world, from the mobile app that helps reunite families in humanitarian disasters to the smartphone accessory that allows for optometrists to operate in the field. The WHO’s app asks parents to enter their child’s name and birth date, which causes the app to suggest which vaccines they require and help track the ones they have already had. As someone who has to carry my vaccination card with my passport, having this kind of information backed-up in the cloud would be very welcome.
Sure, you could just write this information down in a note taking app and avoid any fears you may have over “big brother” tracking and cataloging your life. Not so fast though: the real innovation at the heart of this app is that its creators, Robb Butler and Ajay Goel at the WHO, developed it as a template that can be manipulated and adapted by local governments. By laying out the code foundation for the app, local communities can calibrate the app to reflect their vaccination needs and regulations. In the event of an epidemic in a particular disease, local governments could use the app to transmit important information concerning where to get vaccinated and with what. The app also contains information for parents on the different vaccines and the diseases that they help prevent.
By offering this app to governments around the world, the WHO has helped overcome the costly and cumbersome job of coding an effective app. They have also created a platform that will standardize tracking and reporting of vaccination habits. This meta-data that will help with their international effort. Currently Estonia, Hungary and Romania are set to pilot the app in their countries.
As always, we want to hear from you, what do you think of this app? What other apps are out there that are strengthening international development work?
Find out more on this app through the WHO here.