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2016 News Archive

UCD and the Irish Red Cross have jointly developed digital applications aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian action

Wednesday, 25 May, 2016 


L-R: Irish Red Cross Head of International and National Services Mr. John Roche, Indian Red Cross Joint Secretary Dr. Veer Bushan, H.E. Brian McElduff, Ambassador of Ireland to India, UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks.

L-R: Irish Red Cross Head of International and National Services Mr. John Roche, Indian Red Cross Joint Secretary Dr. Veer Bushan, H.E. Brian McElduff, Ambassador of Ireland to India, UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks.

UCD President, Professor Andrew J. Deeks and Irish Red Cross Head of International Relations and Cooperation, John Roche, travelled to India recently to sign an agreement and to launch a pilot study with the Indian Red Cross. The pilot study will assess the impact a mobile crowd source application will have on the charity’s efforts to combat tuberculosis (TB) in India.

Speaking at the pilot launch, Mr Roche welcomed the partnership and stated, “We believe that effectively leveraging technology in our operations will have a positive impact on our efforts in managing TB, thereby saving lives”.

The mobile app solution aims to engage with stakeholders, including those who have contracted TB and to better understand the challenges faced by them.  One of the main obstacles in combatting TB is treatment default.  Due to financial difficulties, stigmatization and other reasons, patients often stop their treatment before it is complete, putting them at greater risk of developing Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

Owing to UCD’s technology expertise, the mobile app and accompanying web-based interface will allow Red Cross staff and volunteers to monitor patients who are at risk of treatment default, improving their chances of recovery.

It is hoped that this project will show that an effective use of information technology can change the face of humanitarian response.

UCD Vice President for Global Engagement Professor Dolores O’ Riordan, UCD Vice Principal International UCD College of Science Professor Jeremy Simpson and Dr Eleni Mangina, UCD School of Computer Science also attended the signing ceremony.

Dr Eleni Mangina, UCD School of Computer Science said, “a partnership between emerging technologies experts in academia and humanitarian organisations can provide the means to improve existing operations. There is a vast amount of digital information available before, during and after a crisis. Telecommunications, drone technology and crowd source applications can assist volunteers and staff improve the overall effectiveness of humanitarian response.”

India has the highest rate of Tuberculosis in the world, accounting for nearly one fifth of all global instances.

Since the Irish Red Cross began its work in India, approximately 2,000 people have been screened for TB and more than 131,000 have been reached with awareness information.