Business Wire India
Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH) and Malaria No More have jointly launched ‘Malaria Mapathon’, a geospatial mapping initiative aimed at improving healthcare access and driving positive outcomes in the fight to end malaria. The first phase of this initiative will focus on Odisha, the state with one of the highest incidences of malaria in India, specifically the hotspot districts of Koraput and Malkangiri, where over half of all malaria cases in Odisha occur.
As part of the ‘Malaria Mapathon’, Cognizant’s employee volunteers will use OpenStreetMap (OSM) to trace, edit and label key infrastructure and geography of the region, including streets, buildings, vegetation and water bodies. Malaria No More India will overlay epidemiology and weather data on the geospatial map framework, which will then be used to identify disease hotspots and underserved communities, stratify the risk of transmission, improve surveillance and disease reporting and deliver targeted medical interventions, supplies and life-saving aids and tools.
Since the most afflicted areas are also the hardest to reach, becoming even more inaccessible during the monsoon, mapping available road networks to these areas will provide crucial insights about accessibility, thereby optimizing critical interventions. The mapping framework will be deployed before the rains arrive and will serve as a foundational building block for creating an advanced model, incorporating the data and insights gained from the pilot.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on healthcare services has reduced malaria testing in the country by over 30% in 2020. With the second wave of the pandemic devastating India’s health care system, targeted malaria interventions in the hardest-to-reach areas are critical to prevent a serious outbreak of the disease that could overwhelm medical services already under stress.
“Digital technologies are crucial tools in our fight to eradicate malaria by 2030,” said Dr Kaushik Sarkar, Technical Director and Head, Malaria No More India. “Innovative solutions such as the “Malaria Mapathon” framework will provide crucial insights into regions and communities most affected, yet underserved. Although Odisha has made tremendous strides against malaria—preventing 400,000 malaria cases annually by increasing access to malaria tools and interventions–-we need disruptive strategies to sustain the momentum With this partnership, we will be able to leverage Cognizant’s technology leadership to create a digital framework that will enable us to better target interventions and change the trajectory of the disease.”
“We are pleased to pledge our support and bring our technology and domain expertise to the fight against malaria,” said Rajesh Nambiar, Chairman and Managing Director, Cognizant India. “The ongoing pandemic has underscored the vital role played by technology and data in driving a robust healthcare response. No one should be left behind and vulnerable and at-risk communities need timely help, supplies and medical intervention. In Odisha, the huge gains made in the fight against malaria are at risk now, with the pandemic impeding access to critical health services. In partnership with Malaria No More, we are committed to helping Odisha in the battle to eradicate this deadly yet preventable disease.”
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