emergency communications

Use of Mobile Phones in an Emergency Reporting System for Infectious Disease Surveillance After the Sichuan Earthquake in China

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Aug 24, 2010
Use of Mobile Phones in an Emergency Reporting System for Infectious Disease Surveillance After the Sichuan Earthquake in China data sheet 2497 Views
Changhong Yang, Jun Yang, Xiangshu Luo & Peng Gong
Publication Date: 
Jan 2009
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Problem Quick detection and response were essential for preventing outbreaks of infectious diseases after the Sichuan earthquake. However, the existing public health communication system in Sichuan province, China, was severely damaged by the earthquake.

Approach The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention set up a mobile phone emergency reporting system. In total, 495 light-powered mobile phones were delivered to local health-care agencies in earthquake affected areas. All phones were loaded with software designed for inputting and transmitting cases of infectious disease directly to a national database for further analysis.

Local setting The emergency reporting system was set up in 14 counties hit hardest by the earthquake in Sichuan province, China.

Relevant changes One week after delivering mobile phones to earthquake-affected areas, the number of health-care agencies at the township level that had filed reports returned to the normal level. The number of cases reported by using mobile phones accounted for as much as 52.9% of the total cases reported weekly from 19 May to 13 July in those areas.

Lessons learned The mobile phone is a useful communication tool for infectious disease surveillance in areas hit by natural disasters. Nevertheless, plans must be made ahead of time and be included in emergency preparedness programmes.


Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Aug 24, 2009
GeoChat data sheet 1485 Views
Organization that developed the Tool: 
Main Contact: 
Robert Kirkpatrick
Problem or Need: 
GeoChat is intended to ensure that no one is excluded from critical information flow before, during, and after a crisis. It allows groups of mobile users and Internet-based users to set up chat groups, monitor news feeds, and keep track of who is doing what where. When a major humanitarian crisis occurs, every second matters for the affected community – the longer it takes responders to reach them, the worse the outcome is likely to be. What is needed is a response that is agile, efficient, and effective, where diverse groups can self-organize into a coherent, coordinated whole to provide assistance.
Main Contact Email : 
Brief Description: 
InSTEDD GeoChat is a group communications system that lets teams coordinate around events as they unfold, linking mobile responders in the field, decision makers at headquarters, and the affected local community in a unified effective response. The systems allows online and mobile users to share information, report from the field, broadcast alerts, post their locations, and chat with each other on the surface of a map using SMS text messages.
Tool Category: 
Runs on a mobile phone
Key Features : 

  • Translates location names sent by users to a position on a map
  • Supports a variety of explicit location formats, as well as other user-defined tags.
  • Enables shared awareness/coordination on a map
  • Enables creation of and participation in SMS chats 
  • Enables field reporting, alerts, and interactions 
  • Dedicated international SMS gateway supported by 96% of the world’s mobile carriers.

Main Services: 
Tool Maturity: 
Currently deployed
Flash Mobile
Java ME
S60 Web Runtime
Windows Mobile
All phones -- SMS
Current Version: 
Program/Code Language: 
Flash Lite
.NET Compact Framework
Objective C/iPhone
Pocket PC and Microsoft Smartphone
Organizations Using the Tool: 

  • Ministry of Health, Cambodia 
  • Ministry of Health, Ghana

Number of Current End Users: 
Number of current beneficiaries: 
Support Forums: 
Languages supported: 
English, Thai (soon)
Handsets/devices supported: 
Any SMS-capable device.
Is the Tool's Code Available?: 
Is an API available to interface with your tool?: 

Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in Mobile Use by NGOs

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 16, 2009
Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in Mobile Use by NGOs data sheet 3483 Views
Kinkade, Sheila; Verclas, Katrin
Publication Date: 
Jan 2008
Publication Type: 
Magazine or newspaper article

This report explores the ways in which non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) and
other groups deploy and use mobile
technology in their work to help solve some
of the world’s greatest problems. This study
is not meant to be exhaustive or definitive,
but rather to provide a view into how a
number of organizations are using mobile
technology to achieve social impact. The authors
selected case studies that enabled an
exploration of significant innovations,
opportunities, and emerging trends, as well
as the obstacles, in the use of mobile
technology to advance social goals.

The Role of Mobiles in Disasters and Emergencies

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 07, 2009
The Role of Mobiles in Disasters and Emergencies data sheet 3347 Views
Coyle, Diana; Childs, Mary Beth
Publication Date: 
Jan 2006
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

A spate of natural disasters and other emergencies during 2003-2005 has prompted new interest
in how technology can help enhance our security. This report assesses the impact that the widespread
availability of mobile phones has had on the recovery from specific disasters and atrocities, such as the
Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the summer floods in central Europe, and terrorist attacks
in Istanbul and London.