A new platform for the creation of public awareness campaigns is the new proposal of young researchers from the Advanced Computational Technologies Scientific Group belonging to the Faculty of Engineering in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Biomedicine (FITIB).
The Wise Pocket application is designed for smartphones and tablets with Android 5.0 or higher operating systems and is currently being implemented in the campaign conducted in Santiago de Cuba against the Aedes Aegypti mosquito (which causes diseases such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya), due to the high rate of infestation.
After several sessions of work with Public Health officials in the territory, the apk was presented last Thursday to executives, vice-deans, doctors, health promoters and other specialized professionals in order to be promptly introduced in all the health areas of the province.
With more than 45 years of experience in the Hygiene and Epidemiology area and four uninterrupted decades working on strategies that counteract Dengue, Dr. Luis Valdés García, a second degree epidemiology specialist and full professor of this branch, affirms that the potential of Wise Pocket is very broad because it is based on an information-communication technique. "Currently, any health, social, economic or other problem must use these means. We put a lot of emphasis on working with young people. The use of technology is easier for them. From my point of view, the challenge is to evaluate the impact of this tool and see if it truly transforms the behavior of people who are at risk today."
The WisePocket app was developed by MSc researchers. Dionis López Ramos, Dr. Sonia Morejón Labrada, MSc. Elizabet Astorga Gonzalez, Ing. Yadisbel Martínez Cañete, Ing. Gilbert Mengana de la Fe, and Ing. Mirtha Gil Rondón from the Department of Information Technology of the Faculty of Engineering in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Biomedicine (FITIB). "Its goal - explains Dionis López, scientific leader of this team - is to create an application for smartphones that can disseminate educational content for the purpose of fighting diseases and other phenomena. WisePocket uses thematic information, questions and answers games, geolocation of information of interest, and even listening to the textual transcriptions of the information for illiterate or disabled people. It does not aspire to be an extensive dictionary although it hopes to gather all the information suggested by the specialists".
Other members of the team explain that their greatest benefit is to offer more efficiency and security to State Institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations when conducting campaigns of public awareness, facilitating the creation of contents and the immediate feedback of the population's criteria.
Last Thursday, in the presentation before executives of the Ministry of Public Health in the province, Dr. Miriam Marañón Cardonne, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Biomedicine (FITIB) explained that the impact of this application is its first use in the fight against vector control. "The most important aspect- she said - is that it influences decision-making in the processes and important health problems caused by the mosquito management. In addition, the application can be used for various public awareness campaigns in different sectors. We would also like this app to be implemented by the Ministry of Education for the promotion of vocational training that is currently insufficient throughout the country and for the management of content of all types. "
On the other hand, Dr. Mercedes Marzán Delis, Head of the Provincial Department of Health Promotion and Prevention of Diseases said that “from now on, the application will have all possible disclosure, in order to reach all communities and allow its optimal use.
The development of this platform has also been possible thanks to the valuable help of Dr. Hichem Sahli, Flemish leader of the VLIR IUC Oriente Program, who has promoted this idea through the transfer of technologies and information, which is the expression of an intense academic exchange between the Department of Information Technology of the UO and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology of the Free University of Brussels (ETRO) of the VUB.
At present, Wise Pocket, the platform for the creation of public awareness campaigns, competes in Brussels, Belgium for the D4D Prize awarded to outstanding initiatives that use digitalisation and (new) technologies as a bolstering tool for the development towards the achievement of the Objectives of Sustainable Development (ODS).
Translation: Lilia Sanz Gámez
With more than 45 years of experience in the area of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Dr. Luis Valdés supports the introduction of Wise Pocket in the fight against vector control.
In the launch of the application, MsC. Dionis Lopez pointed out that WisePocket uses thematic information, questions and answers games, geolocation of information of interest and even listening to the textual transcriptions of the information for illiterate or disabled people.
En el lanzamiento,el MSc. Dionis López precisó que WisePocket utiliza informaciones temáticas, juegos de preguntas y respuestas, geolocalización de información de interés, además permite escuchar el texto de las informaciones para personas iletradas o con discapacidad.
Members of the Scientific Group of Advanced Computational Technologies belonging to the Faculty of Engineering in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Biomedicine (FITIB). Photos: Rovier Mesa and other collaborators.