Time published an article earlier this week on efforts in Uganda to Tracking Disease One Text at a Time. UNICEF's Innovation Team and the World Health Organization teamed up in Uganda to track the details of drug supplies and disease outbreak recorded by Ugandan health ministry workers using mobile phones. The Ureport group, which develops SMS-based communities of knowledge, also jumped on the project to help track health incidences, supplies, and access across the country. AidData previously worked with UNICEF Uganda and Ureport to run a randomized-control trial (RCT) in Uganda around what incentives citizens (Ureporters) to submit information on polling questions. The full paper on the results of the RCT is available on Zunia.
The Guardian's Tim Weber did a review its Activate Summit held over the summer. One of the major themes of the conference was that "technology is no panacea". Weber writes, however, that despite this realization, technology "offers huge opportunities: it can be a source of wealth and knowledge". One such example comes from Alex Torpey, the Mayor of South Orange in New Jersey, USA. wrote a piece in the Huffington Post on ways in which "open government" can move beyond just an idea or empty words into practical implementation. Alex points to open budget data, public document accessibility, and better communications as key to putting "open government" in place. He is cautious, however, to say that technology is the main driver of "open government", and that first and foremost it's about getting people involved.