The pandemic has been a global issue putting the world at a standstill and as a result, the way we communicate, work, study and even provide health care services has changed, says Roman Dawidowicz. Therefore various professions are exploring creative means to reduce the challenges of the pandemic. Long before now space stakeholders have realized their potential to help the health of many but can space tech help us fight the pandemic?
Based on the article that was released in a journal in September an investigation was made on how pandemics can be managed and prevented using space-based technologies. These technologies have been of help in various aspects of both public and global health and have been used to help disaster relief and monitor climate change. Presently space assets are being used to support the pandemic effort and it could also help to enhance monitoring and reduction of Covid19 and prevention of pandemic later in the future.
Tele-epidemiology has been a useful instrument used by clinicians for an animal disease that can be transmitted to a human. And during the time of Ebola, tele-epidemiology was used to map out the spread of the virus among animals. Through data sharing, surveillance, forecasting of infectious disease, and investigation risk factors geographic information science can help us in understanding and controlling Covid19.
Satellite Imagery Use In Monitoring Progression
Geographic information science, satellite imagery, and global positioning system can help with the distribution of vaccines and pandemic planning. And according to observation, these technologies were very important tools used in the fight against polio. With the help of the satellite imagery, they were able to find socially excluded villages that were even unknown to the Nigerian government and this make it possible to deliver polio vaccines in such areas.
Also during the Ebola outbreak, the satellite that was launched was of great help. The satellite can be used to monitor various parameters such as temperatures that could be specific to an infectious condition. So that in case of an outbreak it will be easy to monitor the progression with the help of this technology. In the same way, the prediction of malaria outbreaks can be done using satellites to monitor mosquito populations.
Space agencies developed telemedicine and it has played an important role in providing medical care, reducing Covid19 and options to explore for the remote monitoring of Covid19 patients. Telemedicine is also used in monitoring and providing care to astronauts. With the help of satellite-based communication, telemedicine can be enhanced so that those in rural and remote areas can receive health care services without the healthcare worker risking their health.
A portable clinical device was developed for the Canadian Space Agency which is already in use and it offers real-time monitoring. The wearable device was used for temperature, blood pressure, heart, and breathing rate, and other important health parameters with all the streaming being done hundreds of miles from earth. A healthcare worker who is working round the clock during the pandemic can also use this device to detect if they are spreading or developing symptoms of Covid19. When the International Space University was exploring space assets they recommended assisting pandemic management through the use of a space-enabled unmanned aerial vehicle.
Managing Isolation and Mental Health During The Pandemic
The pandemic has brought about the limited access to healthcare services, social distance, travel restrictions, and numerous deaths around the world. As a result, those without technological resources feel isolated. But right before now, the space sector has been able to manage isolation and confinement for a longer period. This way, they can help with isolation management and mental health during the pandemic with their experience over the years. Astronauts were able to share their experience of dealing with isolation in an article in which Roman Zenon Dawidowicz believes that understanding during the pandemic can help our mental health.
Previously NASA had provided support to rescuing some isolated and trapped Chilean miners in the year 2010. They also help during the Covid19 pandemic to manage the isolation effect by providing support and resources needed. From around the world space agencies came together and signed the international charter on space and major disasters. Which is used to support the disaster relief effort, various governments and organizations by providing them satellite images. So that they can assess the effect of an emergency and plan relief efforts with the image.
Relevant stakeholders should provide a mechanism that will give more access to space technologies so that satellite images can be provided to help every aspect of the pandemic including to support medicine and supply chain and physical distance measures. The satellite image can also be used for pandemic and vaccine planning, helping them to identify some strategic locations for the distribution of the vaccine. With access to space technologies, it will help with continuous monitoring of pandemics.
Space tech can help us to manage and prevent pandemics if we have access to the technologies. According to Roman Dawidowicz, satellite images can help with the pandemic issue.