National Outbreak Repid Response Team Coordination
Date: May 2009 — Present
We set up GeoChat for the Cambodia Communicable Disease Control (CDC) so they could improve their ability to monitor early stages of disease outbreaks throughout Cambodia. In order to help them communicate crucial information and coordinate responses faster, we developed a tool that supported them in conducting regular SMS-based disease reporting. Such early detection enables early response by health care staff, and preventions of the unnecessary spread of disease outbreaks.
The CDC Deputy Director relies on GeoChat to keep disease outbreak rapid response teams (RRT) communicating in real time so that they can respond to potential outbreaks before they become national emergencies. Due to the changing nature of outbreaks, it is imperative for the RRTs to stay up to date with what is going on where and with whom, in as close to real time as possible. Since much of the RRTs time is spent in areas with little cell phone reception, riding in vehicles and conducting field based interviews, phone calls would be too unreliable and disruptive to be used as the primary way to communicate. In addition, phone calls are not an ideal way for multiple people to be informed simultaneously, which hinders important and potentially life saving communications from taking place.
Using GeoChat, these RRTs are able to create response groups on the fly to involve only the members necessary for each event. By using rapid SMS communications, the response staff is able to chat on the go and stay up to date with what is going on where and with who, is as close to real time as possible. With the help of GeoChat, the RRTs were better able to prepare for and respond to outbreaks, particularly the H1N1 outbreaks of 2009.