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NIH East Africa

Bridging the gap in digital capacity

Interaction between and among humans, animals and the ecosystem has created an optimum condition for emergence and dissemination of zoonotic, vector and foodborne pathogens. It is reported that every four months a new infectious disease emerges, and about 75 percent of these diseases are zoonotic. Agricultural practices, urbanization, climate change and associated environmental hazards pose a major challenge to public health and zoonotic diseases - as well as the increasing chronic diseases - and have a significant impact on society. Developing regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, are recognized to be hotspots of newly emerging and remerging zoonotic infectious diseases, and are facing a surge in non-communicable diseases.

To narrow the gap in scientific knowledge, technology transfer and scientific networking between partners in the United States and eastern Africa, Ohio State is using electronic and digital systems to capture research findings and partner in mutually-beneficial training programs. Goals of the projects include:  

  • Develop institutional capacity that will enable researchers to gain the expertise needed to implement innovative information communication technology activities, including online teaching/ learning opportunities in key global health training areas at the respective partner institutes.
  • Develop a tablet computer and mobile phone-based application for research data capture, crowd sourcing and analyses tailored to projects on key areas of infectious diseases at the human, animal and ecosystem interface.
  • Provide mentored, targeted practicum for information communication technology project support in the area of infectious diseases at the human, animal and ecosystem interface and establish regular webinars and workshops to strengthen and sustain scientific networking among eastern African partners and Ohio State.