A mobile phone-based health project is helping the Peruvian military to keep disease at bay. The initiative, dubbed Alerta DISAMAR, has allowed doctors in the navy to report disease outbreaks and ask for help with treatment. The scheme was set up following the deaths of two Peruvian sailors in 2001 from malaria and is part of a wider mHealth project by the United Nations-Vodafone Foundation. Since it was set up in 2003 it has provided invaluable information for epidemiologists and enabled them to track the spread of diseases. It is also a useful way of gathering statistics on disease for health planning. To date, over 80,000 cases have been reported - everything from snakebites to yellow fever.
The US navy helped establish the product and a firm called Voxiva
developed the technical aspects, under advice from Ernesto Gozzer, a doctor who specialises in public health.
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