As the international community responds to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the ability to rapidly access and distill large volumes of complex data and information is vital for effectively containing the epidemic and saving the lives of thousands of potential victims. Timely operational data is critical for basic logistics, contact tracing, tracking the number and location of new cases, allocating medical resources, and health care provision in emergency treatment units (ETUs).
"Information Saves Lives" is a commonly used mantra in emergency management circles. Better informed, responders can coordinate their efforts more effectively and communities can build resilient systems to protect themselves from hazards and take steps to mitigate the effect of the next humanitarian crisis.
NetHope is partnering with Dr. Jennifer Chan, a leading expert in the field of crisis informatics, to work with the various aid and government agencies. The goal is to bring multiple datasets together - from multiple sources and in varied formats - as the crisis evolves in a comprehensive but time-sensitive way. Dr. Chan works closely with the following digital volunteer groups including GISCorps, Statisticians Without Borders and Standby Task Force. The NetHope Crisis Informatics work would not be possible without the efforts of over 100 volunteers.
These efforts focus on advancing NetHope's Emergency Response Program's mission to improve the data and information sharing for a more efficient and effective West Africa Ebola response. Leveraging the time and expertise of "digital humanitarians" (also known as Volunteer and Technical Communities (VTCs) and a cohort of highly skilled NetHope staff and consultants, NetHope is working with a multitude of Ebola related datasets and transforming them into visual formats for the use by operational organizations.
To address this, the NERP is compromised of three key components:
Common Operational Picture Development (COPD)
Enabling more effective response to the Ebola outbreak through radically increased emphasis on enabling cross-national and cross-organizational information sharing
Cross-sector Partnership Development
Bringing together all of the actors (government, civil society, and military) involved in the response, both at the national levels and at the international level
Technical Infrastructure Development (TID)
Improving the underlying technical infrastructure of response organizations (both national and international) to better share and make use of available information
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