The video above shows the concentration of measles infection during an outbreak in early 2013 (data source: WHO Uganda). Estimating the geographical density of infection in this way makes the patterns of infection easier to visualise than when dealing with raw data from individual health centres. Note, for example, the prevalence of infection in border areas.

Pulse Lab Kampala and partners are looking at ways of visualising both the information already collected in Uganda about infectious diseases, and new sources of information about risk factors that may help with the management of outbreaks by the Uganda Ministry of Health.

New data sources for risk mapping: human mobility

The transmission of infectious disease depends on the movements of people. Data from mobile phone network operators has made it possible to observe population mobility for the first time in countries such as Uganda. For example, the following plots show population movements out of the cities of Kampala and Gulu in early 2013, using anonymised, aggregated information provided to us by Orange Uganda:

Daily population outflows from Kampala in early 2013.

Daily population outflows from Gulu in early 2013.

A number of studies (e.g. 1, 2, 3) have established the potential for such data to be used to improve understanding of infectious disease spread; we are therefore aiming to develop the technology for this to be made operational in Uganda.