Space Technology: A New Frontier for Public Health: Satellite Technologies Are a Natural Ally in Public Health Emergencies for Tracking the Extent of Disease Outbreaks and Natural Disasters. Jeremy Wagstaff Explains Why They Have Only Become Really Useful over the Past 10 Years

By Wag, Jeremy | Bulletin of the World Health Organization, February 2008 | Go to article overview

Space Technology: A New Frontier for Public Health: Satellite Technologies Are a Natural Ally in Public Health Emergencies for Tracking the Extent of Disease Outbreaks and Natural Disasters. Jeremy Wagstaff Explains Why They Have Only Become Really Useful over the Past 10 Years


Wag, Jeremy, Bulletin of the World Health Organization


When former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan was seen leaving a conference in Geneva in November 2005 clutching maps of the south Asia earthquake disaster, it was evidence that satellites--as a key weapon in humanitarian emergencies--had arrived.

In the hours and days after the October 8 quake struck killing more than 73 000 people and injuring some 150 000, experts from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United Nations scrambled to gather and interpret images data from satellites to assist rescue workers on the ground from local authorities to nongovernmental organizations (NGO), like Telecoms Sans Frontieres.

The maps (which can be seen at http://www.disasterscharter.orgl disasters/CALLID_110_e.html) compare the terrain before and after the disaster, and pinpoint the location and impact of landslides. Such photos, says Maarten Meerman, a satellite designer at MacDonald Dettwiler in Vancouver, Canada, would be detailed enough "to spot flooded roads, burning forests, washed out railways, etc."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

These relief crews and aid workers--with their boots knee-deep in mud and their laptops under plastic bags for protection from the rain--got the damage maps and reported that the information was useful," recalls Philippe Bally, an earth observation specialist from the European Space Agency (ESA) and a member of the secretariat of the International Charter "Space and Major Disasters", a seven-year-old commitment by 10 space agencies to provide satellite-based data to countries affected by disaster.

This vote of confidence, he concluded, was "a clear message when it comes from the end user". But it was the sight of Annan emerging with maps of the disaster that struck home for Bally, who through the Charter helped coordinate obtaining the images and their interpretation by experts from an ESA project called GMES RESPOND. "Those maps," says Bally, "were the results of a huge effort from the Charter alongside value-adding partners working on satellite data to extract thematic information."

Great advances have been made in space technology in the past decade, and these advances have become useful for addressing humanitarian crises. The chief of these, as the Pakistan earthquake illustrates, is using satellites to obtain images of a disaster zone quickly, so that rescue workers can focus their efforts where they are needed. But there are other uses of satellites: as a way to predict and monitor the spread of communicable diseases; as a simple means of communication when land-based systems have failed; and as location and navigation aids when Global Positioning System--GPS--units locate and track public health information. In the outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Kenya (2006-2007), for example, GPS units were used to link surveys to an actual place on the earth, according to Carl Kinkade, enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) coordinator for the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

ESA is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish a European user-driven Telemedicine via Satellite programme. Telemedicine is the use of information technology to deliver medical services or information from one location to another. The programme will aim to provide telemedicine services, such as delivering medical care and treatment via satellite, and, for WHO, a key element is training health workers in how to use such health technologies in their work. WHO has already trained health workers in how to use satellite images in 20 countries.

The Satellites For Epidemiology (SAFE) pilot project, for example, is part of that collaboration. According to SAFE coordinator Audrey Berthier, of the Institut de Medecine et de Physiologie Spatiales (MEDES) in Toulouse, France, the SAFE project attempts to answer the question: how good are satellites for providing early warning of disease outbreaks? To explore this, SAFE conducted a training exercise in November 2007 on the Greek island of Crete (http://www. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Space Technology: A New Frontier for Public Health: Satellite Technologies Are a Natural Ally in Public Health Emergencies for Tracking the Extent of Disease Outbreaks and Natural Disasters. Jeremy Wagstaff Explains Why They Have Only Become Really Useful over the Past 10 Years
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.