Veta Life, a technology start-up, is attempting to address the ever growing issue of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika.
To put things into perspective, the first eight months of this year alone over 38,000 cases of dengue were reported along with over 60 dengue-related deaths. Furthermore, since the identical mosquito spreads both dengue and Zika, the emerging disease Zika could pose a significant risk to Sri Lanka as well.
According to health authorities, eradication of mosquito-breeding habitats is considered to be the single most important factor in limiting the spread of diseases such as dengue and Zika. The App launched by Veta, has a set of interesting features which can hopefully address the public disinterest towards the issue and negligence, together considered to be the biggest contributors to mosquito-breeding sites.
Co-Founder Pradeepan Somasundaram said that the app allows individuals to set locations that are frequently used by them and their families, for instance their home, office or child’s school. Along with these frequented locations, users can also set an alert radius, across which the set locations need to be monitored for cases.
“The app also allows users to report cases of dengue along with the incident location and this in-turn will serve as an alert to other users in close proximity to that location. The benefit of the app is that it will enable users to exercise greater vigilance and take extra safeguards in any location that has a relatively higher number of reported incidents. By making it personal, Veta believes that people will start taking mosquito-breeding sites more seriously, before it impacts one’s own family,” he said.
Pradeepan together with Malitta Nanayakkara and Dilshan Perera founded the Veta app with an intuitively understandable design that allows new users to easily navigate the app and instantly figure out how to use it. Veta is hopeful that even simple users of smartphones will be able to comfortably use the app.
Furthermore, given that smartphone penetration is growing exponentially in Sri Lanka, there are greater benefits in mobilizing the public and in collecting this data. For instance, analysis of user reports may reveal patterns and enable authorities, who are often faced with limited resources, to focus their efforts while dealing with epidemics.
Given that one mosquito-breeding site in one household can impact an entire neighbourhood, every citizen of this country has a moral responsibility to strive towards zero mosquito-breeding sites at their homes, offices and public spaces. Only in so doing, can we protect ourselves, our families, our neighbours and most of all, our future generations from diseases such as dengue and emerging diseases such as Zika.
The app (available for Android and iOS devices) is free to the Sri Lankan public and can be viewed on Veta’s website www.veta.life.