As reported in America.gov, and announced on October 21, Google.org is making an initial grant of $14.8 million for its “Prevent and Predict” program. The money is going to six partnerships in Africa and Southeast Asia and is aimed at helping nations and international organizations for both animal and human health to identify possible public health outbreaks before they become emergencies.
According to Google.org Executive Director Dr. Larry Brilliant: “The teams we’re funding today are on the frontiers of digital and genetic early-detection technology.”
Google.orgis focusing on environmental changes as key determinants in public health emergencies, particularly those pertaining to malaria and meningitis whose transmission can depend on climatic conditions such as rainfall, humidity and temperature.
Read more about where Google.org’s money is being spent, after the jump.
Google.org’s grant recipients are primarily western, technologically advanced environmental or meteorological organizations. Recipients include:
- The Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Research Center. The organization and its partners received $2 million for high-resolution satellite mapping of forests to enhance monitoring of forest loss and settlement expansion in tropical countries.
- Columbia University’s International Research Institutefor Climate and Society (IRI) in New York. The research institute, which receives support from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, received $900,000 from Google.org to improve the use of forecasts, rainfall data and other climate information in East Africa and to link weather and climate experts with health specialists to better predict disease outbreaks.
- IRI received a second grant for $900,000 to build a decision-support system that public health workers can use to anticipate and respond to meningitis epidemics in Ghana.
- Additional collaborators include the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Climate Prediction and Applications Center, World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopian Anti-Malaria Association and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
The project is working with the WHO-led Meningitis Environmental Risk Information Technologies consortium of climate and health institutions that supports the distribution of a new meningitis vaccine in Africa.