In the fight against future disease outbreaks, innovations in health care are being developed and deployed across the world, especially the most vulnerable communities.

The most recent and still ongoing epidemic caused by the Zika virus has led researchers to harness the collective power of technology to find new ways to curb or prevent future epidemics. The extent of human suffering and worldwide panic caused by disease outbreaks should be controlled, and foiling techniques will not be enough to do that.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, has shelled funds worth $3.3 million to develop and send unmanned drones to deliver medical supplies to the affected areas and drop squadrons of sterile mosquitoes to halt the spread of the virus. To make the trips efficient, the drone will also ferry back lab samples for research purposes.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Governments and international communities have failed many times to contain epidemics, such as the Ebola outbreak in Africa that began two years ago. The biggest concern was that governments lacked the political will to allocate funds to control the outbreak. Consequently, deep inadequacies in investments and response from the international public health system led to greater health care costs and deep dissatisfaction from the affected communities.

These lessons have urged the United Nations and the World Health Organization to increase the resources to identify, monitor, report, and halt future outbreaks. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, has played a vital role in research, development, and aid. Micro-drones offer accurate and eco-friendly solutions for science and research, such as climate surveillance, surveying, and deployment of instruments in areas too remote or hostile for men.

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The use of micro-drones will be one of the major changes in the fight against disease outbreaks. As a response to the Zika virus spread in the Americas, drone missions are being finalized and will be implemented as soon as possible.

Harnessing Mobile and Digital Technologies

It is also important to drive through standards and procedures about the extent of the epidemic to avoid worldwide hysteria. There needs to be more resources and incentives to promote early reporting of outbreaks.

Sharing this valuable piece of information accurately will help health organizations to know the extent of the epidemic and find the best ways to treat the patients. This is especially needed in vulnerable communities in the developing world that have limited access to technology and medical assistance.

If the virus spreads in these remote areas, it will be much harder to suppress its spread and treat its patients. Experts also recommend the use of mobile communications and broadband internet to improve the epidemic response and deliver information and validate people’s readiness for the next outbreak.

In public health problems of such magnitude, connectivity is highly valuable. Experts believe that if all members of the community have the means to communicate, the impact will be much more manageable.

Technology and communications are key instruments that can bring economic and health benefits. Investing in infrastructure in rural communities and developing nations will have a positive impact in terms of epidemic response and reducing costs on the part of the public health system and aid community.