Brazil’s health agency builds app to battle Zika at Olympics

The Brazilian Ministry of Health is hoping to ease Olympic game spectators concerns regarding the Zika virus via an app that monitors health status and provides the government with insight on disease spread to help curb transmission.

The Guardians of Health (GOH) app is the second mHealth tool created for an international competition and was developed by the ministry and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Its origins lie in a similar software tool developed for the FIFA World Cup 2014. The GOH tool will let game Rio 2016 Games attendees report on other disease as well, share health condition data and symptom reports.

“Participatory surveillance seeks to contribute to the public good by creating the consciousness that everyone can help avoid the expansion of outbreaks based on intense societal [citizen scientists] engagement,” Mark Smolinski, director of Global Health Threats and chief medical officer at Skoll Global Threats Funds, told FierceMobileHealthcare in an email.

“Mass gatherings are events where large numbers of people come together, often from every corner of the globe. The idea that we might be able to monitor, in real time, symptoms within the 'mass' is something only possible today when essentially every participant has a reporting device in his or her pocket--their mobile phone,” he wrote.

According to Smolinski, using a health app at the FIFA World Cup in 2014 proved successful with nearly 10,000 downloads and 4,700 active users.

“All this data has been evaluated and used to create a more complete version to meet the widest possible reality to the Summer Games, the biggest sporting event of the world,” he said.

For more information:
- read the announcement