Satellite technology and the control of parasitic diseases in Africa: an overview
Parasitic diseases continue to constitute immense public health problems and obstacle to socio-economic development in endemic communities in the world (including Africa). Six of these diseases namely; Malaria, African Trypanosomiasis, Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis and Leishmaniasis have been tagged “major tropical diseases” by the World Health Organization. The surveillance of these diseases remains an essential first step in their control, eradication and prevention. However, surveillance using conventional methods in some instances is time consuming, expensive and impracticable over wide ranges of ecological conditions. The need therefore to introduce new techniques and alternative ways of parasitic disease surveillance, prevention and control becomes expedient. Satellite techniques are new and modern methods that are technologically driven and hold much promise for parasitic disease surveillance, control and prevention in Africa. These techniques include: remote sensing, geographical information system (GIS), and global positioning system (GPS). Other complimentary techniques at various stages of development include: human and robotic teams and telemedicine. The potential application of these techniques in the surveillance, control and prevention of parasitic diseases in Africa is explored in this write-up.
Keywords: surveillance, parasitic diseases, satellite techniques, remote sensing, Geographical Information System (GIS), Global Positioning Sytem (GPS), human and robotic, telemedicine.
Nigerian Journal of Parasitology Vol. 28 (1) 2007: pp. 47-53