iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Amrita U. Kadam, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 12, 2009
Software experts have suggested a geographic information system for monitoring and reporting swine flu cases. The software, based on the Accident Reporting System (ARS) (http://ars.indictranstech.com) in use in Pune, displays data over a Google map of an area.

It can be customised for epidemics and would help authorities keep track of H1N1 cases across the area. The system can be used to update people via SMS and can also display locations of testing centres.

Experts suggested that hospitals, testing centres and civic doctors be given usernames to feed in the data, which citizens can access and update on a website. Areas requiring urgent medical help can be spotted easily and the system can become a single-point information hub on the outbreak.

“In a city like Mumbai, it’s difficult to keep a check on pandemics. Planning will be better if accurate information is available. Since this software is based on free software and application software, it costs nothing,” said Prof  Jitendra Shahthe, mentor of the software development group indictranstech. In Pune, the ARS records accidents and identifies accident-prone areas.

But the BMC said it has enough expertise to monitor the virus. “The cases are sporadic, so the system is not needed as of now,” said Executive Health Officer Dr Jairaj Thanekar.