Andrew Jack at the Financial Times: “When Mozambique was hit by two cyclones in rapid succession last year — causing death and destruction from a natural disaster on a scale not seen in Africa for a generation — government officials added an unusual recruit to their relief efforts. Apart from the usual humanitarian and health agencies, the National Health Institute also turned to Zenysis, a Silicon Valley start-up.
As the UN and non-governmental organisations helped to rebuild lives and tackle outbreaks of disease including cholera, Zenysis began gathering and analysing large volumes of disparate data. “When we arrived, there were 400 new cases of cholera a day and they were doubling every 24 hours,” says Jonathan Stambolis, the company’s chief executive. “None of the data was shared [between agencies]. Our software harmonised and integrated fragmented sources to produce a coherent picture of the outbreak, the health system’s ability to respond and the resources available.
“Three and a half weeks later, they were able to get infections down to zero in most affected provinces,” he adds. The government attributed that achievement to the availability of high-quality data to brief the public and international partners.
“They co-ordinated the response in a way that drove infections down,” he says. Zenysis formed part of a “virtual control room”, integrating information to help decision makers understand what was happening in the worst hit areas, identify sources of water contamination and where to prioritise cholera vaccinations.
It supported an “mAlert system”, which integrated health surveillance data into a single platform for analysis. The output was daily reports distilled from data issued by health facilities and accommodation centres in affected areas, disease monitoring and surveillance from laboratory testing….(More)”.