The USF College of Public Health’s Dr. Arturo Rebollón, a doctoral student based in Panama, says it is time to give the community the empowerment they need to combat Zika in Panama.
He is working with Esri Panamá, a geographical information systems mapping company, to create a new web application for all things Zika.
From information about Zika provided in laymen terms to prevention tips and interactive maps, the tool is meant to create a vital link, according to Rebollón.
“The whole idea is to create mobilization from the community site because the health ministry doesn’t have enough people to do it,” he said. “This tool is a link between academia, health organizations and the community.”
The content of the web application is open source and available to anyone via the web at www.geozika.com. A downloadable app is also in the works.
Dr. Rebollón said a unique feature of the app is the ability of users to report mosquito breeding grounds anonymously.
“People know what Zika is and how to prevent it, but this adds another layer into the community knowledge and gives them empowerment so they feel more prone to report it and take care of themselves,” he said. “That’s the whole idea. They know they have a problem and they can fix it.”
Ms. Lismarí Vásquez of Esri Panamá is designing the platform for the web application, while Rebollón provides oversight on the clinical information and structure.
“It’s a very interactive way to tell a story using pictures and geolocation,” Dr. Rebollón said.