23 Feb 2015

Satellites a new tool in Pacific fight against disease

11:44 am on 23 February 2015

Public health authorities may have a new tool in the fight against common diseases with the use of remote sensing and geographic tracking systems.

A research team at the Australian National University has trialled the system with malaria in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Bhutan with positive responses from local health authorities.

The team's project leader Professor Archie Clements says the technology could help save millions of lives in underdeveloped countries if integrated into public health monitoring systems.

"People all the way from the policy level down to delivering interventions in the field can have access to maps that tell them about the distribution of disease that tell them about where their surveillance system has been operating. Can help them identify areas where they could be doing better, where they need to be allocating their resources."

Archie Clements says his team is now seeking funding to trial the system in larger countries.