Social Media Helping To Stop Disease

Social Media Helping To Stop Disease

I saw this tweet today titled “Can Social Media Help End Malaria?” from @briansolis of the campaign to end malaria. I had just finished reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about Bill Gates revamping his war on polio. When I read the article in the Wall Street Journal, I was astounded at the amount of money that has been invested, $700 million and the disease has not diminished. Part of the problem is education on hygeine and sanitation and now money to continue the efforts.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

Big donors have long preferred fighting individual diseases, known as a “vertical” strategy. The goal is to repeat 1979’s victory over smallpox, the only disease ever to be eradicated. By contrast, the broader, “horizontal” strategy has less well-defined goals and might not move the needle of global health statistics for years.

But he, too, questioned the wisdom of targeting one disease. “Other health issues should be looked into,” the sultan said, “instead of just facing one direction with polio eradication.” He ticked off tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, malaria, cholera and a parasitic infection known as “snail fever.”

If approved in May by member nations of the WHO, the new strategy will set ambitious goals for getting close to eradicating polio by the end of 2012. The plan bolsters the core “vertical” approach of polio program but also adds a “horizontal” strategy, including training for health workers on topics such as hygiene and sanitation.

So if  Bill Gates is rethinking his vertical approach, is Social Media part of the horizontal approach?  Brian’s blog post lists a big list of Social Media envoya,  including Bill Gates. A hashtag is associated with this cause, #endmalaria. It will automatically tweet a mosquito icon. There is a link to donate at least $10 to buy a bed net. I am clicking the link now to contribute. I took action based on a tweet. Go do the same because one by one can become many.