Event-based based surveillance system for disease outbreaks in India

Here’s an interesting blog post (I am not endorsing it) but a learning point to take the discussion forward.

Event based system:

The second approach, and the one we focus on, is an event-based surveillance system. In India, this has traditionally involved:

Manual screening of reports, stories, rumours, and other health-related information by the Media Scanning and Verification Cell (MSVC) in New Delhi.
Analysis of screened information by epidemiologists. 
Disseminating alerts electronically to relevant District Surveillance Officers. Distributing verified media alert reports to responsible health authorities and stakeholders for appropriate public health action.
Event-based surveillance systems are very important for the early detection of infectious disease outbreaks.

Since the volume of news articles published online is extremely large, manually screening for potential events of interest is not practical. This is the reason most developed countries have automated solutions (ProMED and MedISys, for example), which crawl the web and generate alerts every day1.

This doesn’t call for AI, per se. They have added an automation layer to collate information. I do it all the time; much better and using free tools.

Relying on email/SMS for critical information relay seems odd. Trying to rely on “media reports” to detect corona-pandemic information is again fraught with misinformation being fed in the system. Why not target the detection centres? Make it mandatory to automate information in a cloud based system instead?

Highly avoidable solution.

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