A Tweet Heard Around the World

Working with the World Health Organization, Uganda’s Ministry of Health is turning to Twitter to fight disease, according to an article on NewsFultonCounty.com. For the nation, the ability to predict, track and respond rapidly is critical for containment, as Uganda is frequently exposed to outbreaks of hazards like Ebola, Marburg, and malaria.

Centered at the Public Health Emergency Operations Center in Kampala, the site uses the Twitter handle @MOHUg_PHEOC to follow local and international accounts that may provide information on outbreaks.

Inside the center, two screens provide a constant stream of updates – one via television, and the other via Twitter. Using Tweetdeck, a set of custom searches related to potential outbreaks, information on a outbreaks of more severe class of diseases like West Nile or Rift Valley, and diseases within the class of malaria or cholera scroll constantly across the second screen.

“We set up this center in July 2013 because of the constant disease outbreaks and we needed to prepare and cope with them more effectively and efficiently,” said Dr. Issa Makumbi, manager of the Public Health Emergency Operations Center, to NewsFultonCounty.com. “Ebola and Marburg were rampant at the time and since then we have had five Ebola outbreaks and three Marburg outbreaks. These diseases are not going to go away tomorrow, so the solution is to detect and respond to them early so as to stop their transmission to vulnerable communities.”