This is a concept note of a theoretical Short Messaging Service (SMS) based system that can emulate the Public Emergency Broadcast commonly used in broadcast media.
Public Emergency Broadcasts are used to reach out to the public to inform them of a certain vital emergent issue e.g. Hurricanes, Typhoons, flooding and epidemics.
SEWS design is to supplement the current systems in place e.g. Emergency Radio & TV broadcasts, leaflets, town hall meetings etc. It can be used as a reactionary measure after observations made through an Early Warning System require the need to inform the public of a potential and current serious health situation in an affected region. Once a serious health situation calls for the need to reach out to the public, SEWS could be used to pass on the necessary message with great ease and automation.
The SEWS project is proposed to target migratory persons and the local people. This is with the notion that it is more likely for an individual to access their mobile phones than their radio or TV.
People on the move may not be aware of the imminent situation in an area hence SEWS may adequately inform them hence may eventually reduce the spread of the epidemic to other regions.
A good case in point is the current Swine Flu situation. If every mobile phone user during the dawn of the epidemic received information through the proposed SEWS, the spreading rate of the pandemic may have reduced probably significantly since information is sent and received immediately rather than it being received through the usual media i.e. TV, Radio and Newspapers which could be time costly.
With the advent of mobile telephony and the market penetration having deeply entrenched across the world, the mobile phone handset together with the complementary services provided have seen it become more than a social asset but more of a necessity. Read the rest of this entry »