The World Health Organization(WHO) is now building a reputation to rival the CDC when it comes to building digital tools. The World Health Organization already has a great e-pocketbook app for children and recently released an mHealth checklist for the reporting of mobile health studies. They have now launched the WHO Zika app — a medical app for physicians and health professionals to reference for the latest information about Zika.
The Zika virus outbreak has been seemingly everywhere in the news in the past few months. The virus is an emerging mosquito-borne illness that was first discovered in the 1940’s. It is spread via the bite of the Aedes mosquito though we now know the virus can also be spread via blood and semen.
Although outbreaks in the past in Africa and Pacific countries had noted microcephaly, the current outbreak that started in French Polynesia and Brazil has brought the proposed microcephaly link to the forefront. The World Health Organization predicts that over 2,500 babies in Brazil alone will be born with microcephaly attributed to Zika.
Furthermore, the virus has spread rapidly throughout the Americas and now there are cases in over 40 countries and territories. Some are even calling for the Summer Olympics in Brazil this summer to be cancelled. Many are concerned that Zika will spread in the southern US this summer creating another West Nile virus situation, but one with potentially severe consequences for pregnant women.
Surprisingly, the iOS app store has very few medical apps on Zika currently, which is why the WHO Zika app is a welcome addition to the app store for physicians.
The Zika medical app is broken down into 3 main areas: general information, health care workers, and news. Each section is then divided into many sub topics ranging from symptoms to transmission, prevention, etc. The healthcare worker section contains all of the WHO technical guidance on topics ranging from birth defect surveillance training to prevention of sexual transmission. The medical app contains numerous WHO graphics, PDF’s and videos along with the most current Zika news.
Evidence based medicine
The WHO Zika app comes from a reputable source and reflects current “best evidence” and “most current stats” on the Zika virus outbreak. The medical app provides abundant technical guidance from mosquito control to psychosocial support for pregnant women. Most recommendations are likely expert opinion based and/or based on current best evidence in this rapidly changing knowledge area.
What providers would benefit from this Medical App?
Any healthcare provider working in countries caught up in the current Zika virus outbreak.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
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