Inveneo Ebola Outbreak Archives

Partnership Expands ICT Support for Ebola Fight in West Africa

  1. Posted by Inveneo on January 21, 2015 in the categories: Events, External, News, Press

DAVOS, SwitzerlandJan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — NetHope, a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations, announced today a partnership with Facebook, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cisco, EveryLayer and Inveneo to expand their support for effective communications capabilities to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and promote sustainable recovery in the region.

The joint Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) will deliver high-speed broadband Internet access to Ebola responders based in hundreds of Ebola treatment facilities, NGO offices, and additional logistical hubs in Sierra LeoneLiberia and Guinea. Reliable communications capacity is an essential tool for response organizations combating the outbreak, which has killed more than 8,600 people according the World Health Organization. Slow, unreliable access to the Internet remains a major challenge for coordinating the Ebola relief effort, particularly in some of the hardest hit areas that lack any form of high-speed broadband. Existing networks have also been strained by the influx of relief workers and agencies in the region, increasing demand on the already fragile infrastructure. Effective ICT capacity enables rapid access and exchange of information, real-time case management and contact tracking, outbreak mapping, community mobilization, and supply and logistics management.

“Effective communications and information sharing is simply fundamental to the work of our teams and local partners fighting this complex emergency in West Africa,” said Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International, a global humanitarian organization providing community-based health centers, public health information campaigns, medical and food supplies, and training for health workers in West Africa. “The ability of our teams to access and share information in real time is not simply a matter of greater efficiency — it simply saves lives.”

The ERCI expands on the participating organizations’ support for rapid-deployment communications solutions delivered to West Africa in late 2014 to meet immediate needs on the ground. That initial support for Ebola response organizations included:

  • Facebook’s donation of 100 satellite terminals to provide emergency connectivity to high-priority locations within Ebola affected countries
  • Connectivity accelerator funds provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to increase existing connectivity at 45 locations, many of which will serve as connectivity distribution sites for ERCI
  • These initial deployments have provided emergency communications capability to more than 25 NetHope member NGOs and other response organizations with more than 3,000 staff and volunteers working on the frontlines of the crisis

“As we’ve worked together in recent months to support the connectivity needs of response organizations and impacted communities, there has been a clear recognition by all involved of two central facts: the scope of the challenge is enormous and communications capacity is essential for virtually every Ebola response related intervention,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “This unique collaboration among global leaders in technology, philanthropy and the NGO sector harnesses their combined commitment, innovation and expertise to meet the immense challenges in both the short and long term.”

The joint initiative will significantly expand the scope and sustainability of the communications capacity, supporting thousands of response workers and ultimately millions of individuals through:

  • Deployment and operation of additional infrastructure and equipment in the impacted countries through support from Facebook and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This will be based on the priority needs of NetHope NGO members and other response organizations with a focus on shared services with local partners and long-term benefit for local communities.
  • Data analysis on connectivity in the impacted countries, conducted by Facebook’s Data Science Team. This includes working closely with NetHope and mobile network operators to map locations that have the geographic need for Internet connectivity and the technological capability to provide it.
  • On-site hotspot equipment and financial support from Cisco Meraki, that enables responders to connect laptops, phones and tablets to improve all communications related to the relief effort.
  • The broadband solution, architected by EveryLayer and deployed by Inveneo and its certified partners, is based on a combination of extending satellite technology and strengthening existing service provider networks with carrier-grade Wi-Fi technology. The network can be deployed at a lower cost and on a faster time horizon than traditional mobile networks.
  • Partnerships with local mobile network operators and improvements to local infrastructure will ensure that communities have access to long-term, low-cost connectivity beyond the short-term Ebola relief effort.

“The Internet can be an enabler for basic needs like healthcare, and we are seeing that firsthand with Ebola response efforts,” said Chris Weasler, Facebook’s Director of Global Connectivity. “The communications capacity that we are implementing with this extraordinary partnership is one step in supporting the work that the doctors, nurses and health professionals have bravely led in West Africa. We believe that ERCI can deliver critical tools, talent and resources to help those on the front lines access and send lifesaving information and stay in touch with their families and friends at home. By providing courageous medical professionals with the right support, we hope to encourage others to follow their path and fight the spread of this disease.”

“From the early stages of this crisis we recognized the need for connectivity and data collection in containing and ultimately stopping Ebola,” said Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Ebola Program Lead for the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “Working together we can build an infrastructure that will have an immediate impact as well as long-term effect to help the countries recover once this crisis is over.”

“Every day, we see people face seemingly overwhelming issues. Working with partners, using our expertise and technology, we can help respond to critical human needs. We do this through Cisco’s employees and our technology; bringing people together to tackle global challenges faster,” said Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs. “By providing the resources, the technology and the experience to address the connectivity demands of the first responders, aid organizations and governments, we hope to multiply the positive impact of connecting the experts who are working tirelessly toward a breakthrough in the fight against the spread of this disease.”

“High-speed, reliable Internet access is a key lever to stopping the spread of Ebola,” said Mark Summer, CEO and Co-founder of EveryLayer. “An additional benefit to ERCI’s approach is that once we’ve won the fight against Ebola, the broadband infrastructure and partnerships will stay in place and continue to deliver high-speed Internet to local businesses and customers, which will help communities thrive for years to come.”

“ICT is an important tool in combating Ebola. Inveneo is excited to build out key communication infrastructure to support needed ICT tools. We are leveraging our local partners in country to assure locally trained personnel support the effort and to provide long-term sustainability,” said Bruce Baikie, Executive Director of Inveneo.

About the ERCI Partners 

About Facebook
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded over $446 million to more than 1,400 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, go to www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

About EveryLayer
EveryLayer (formerly Volo Broadband) enables broadband service providers (ISPs and Mobile Network Operators) in emerging markets to provide radically lower cost high-speed services in weeks, not months. EveryLayer’s cloud-based ISP network and service automation platform simplifies how providers design and manage fixed wireless networks, set up and provision services, and serve and bill customers. EveryLayer’s expert team provides technical and commercial design blueprints and training, enabling service providers to gain skills to rapidly deploy lower cost fixed wireless networks and broadband services using carrier grade last-mile WiFi networking technologies. EveryLayer is the partner for service providers who are ready to deliver better, faster, cheaper broadband everywhere.

About Inveneo
Inveneo is a non-profit social enterprise that delivers the tools of technology – sustainable computing and broadband – to those who need it most in the developing world, to transform lives through better education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and faster relief. Inveneo is leveraging more than 10 years of experience of successfully introducing technology and expanding connectivity to underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa to implement this project.

About NetHope
Founded in 2001, NetHope is a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations providing emergency relief, human development and conservation programs in more than 180 countries. Through member collaboration and by facilitating public-private partnerships with major technology companies, NetHope enables members to leverage their technology investments to better serve their end beneficiaries.

 

SOURCE NetHope

RELATED LINKS
http://www.nethope.org

Top 4 Ways ICTs Can Help Defeat the Ebola Crisis

  1. Posted by Inveneo on September 25, 2014 in the categories: Healthcare, News, Relief

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is increasingly becoming an international crisis. Recently the World Health Organization counted 5,843 cases of Ebola patients and 2,811 deaths. Even more tragic, the number deaths occurring outside hospitals are not usually recorded, meaning the numbers could actually be significantly higher. The CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) predicts there if we don’t do anything to stop Ebola in its tracks, the world will have 1.4 million cases before we hit February 2015.

How does this Ebola outbreak compare to others in the past?ebola_time

So what can the ICT community do? ICTs (Information and Communications Technology) have already made drastic positive differences to healthcare workers around the world, and defeating the Ebola crisis should be no different. Here are four ways aid workers should embrace ICTs to make a bigger impact:

  1. More drones should be used to airlift medicine and supplies. Since aid organizations are continuously crossing borders and healthcare workers don’t always have proper equipment to keep themselves safe, a flying drone can prove useful to send medical supplies to remote locations. It would act as a simple way to either stop or slow down the spread of the Ebola virus. Drones would in no way replace doctors, but they could provide a safer alternative than people travelling to  dangerous areas just to deliver materials.
  2. A 24-hour helpline of doctors should be readily available by Skype, Google Hangout, or video chat. Online video calls would be able to provide consistent and accurate medical information to those living in rural areas. They would also decrease the need for doctors to be on the ground all the time. Finally, residents living in rural areas would be able to report cases more quickly, therefore allowing the WHO and other organizations to collect more accurate numbers on the outbreak.
  3. Apps providing correct information on Ebola should be offered to local community leaders. Fear and cultural insensitivity sometimes deny international aid workers access to areas where often their help is most needed. The answer? Provide local community leaders the same information via apps so they can share it with their own neighbors and friends. This can be done easily on any mobile device, and the apps should be made in or translated into local languages and dialects. In addition, the articles, content, and news stories on the app should be updated nearly every day, making the latest news and information available to entire communities.
  4. Access to social media will help sensitize others to the seriousness of this outbreak. So many west Africans enjoy Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and other social networking sites. These social media tools should be put to work since users are already enjoying those platforms. As one writer puts it, “Using modern day technology to sensitize the public on the virus, its prevention and particularly the importance of early intervention could be key in preventing the continuation of deaths in high numbers.”

ICTs can make a profound impact on scaling back the devastating effect that Ebola has had on Sierra Leone and other parts of western Africa. It’s time to nail down the best strategies to save precious lives around the world.

Inveneo has been working to provide the best ICTs for communities in need for over 10 years. If you would like to help Inveneo continue its ICT projects around the world, please donate today!