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(ITU) Tech groups join forces against Ebola

2014/11/03 19:29

By Kang Yoon-seung

BUSAN, Nov. 3 (Yonhap) -- The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the GSM Association (GSMA), and the Internet Society (ISOC) said Monday they have agreed to team up to promote the use of ICT to fight the Ebola virus for "better preparedness, early warning and response," amid the outbreak of the disease worldwide.

Under the agreement, the three will "facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of ideas and tools, and increase their accessibility to the humanitarian community, mobile operators and the general public."

   The move came as Ebola hemorrhagic fever has become an epidemic as it spread across parts of West Africa, claiming thousands of lives. Several cases have also been reported in the United States.

"ICTs are already being used by ITU and its partners to support awareness raising and emergency communications, and our immediate challenge is to ensure that regulatory barriers are removed to facilitate deployment and use of telecommunications applications for the purpose of saving lives," said Hamadoun Toure, the ITU secretary general.

The GSMA, a global association of mobile operators, also echoed the view, adding that it will "work closely with governments and international utilize technology that will help address this outbreak, as well as deliver information to individuals in affected countries on symptoms, care and resources for this disease."

   The ISOC, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of the Internet, added that it has launched "the Ebola Tech Response Group" to lend support.

"The spread of Ebola and the ravages that it is leaving behind in the affected countries in Africa are imprinting their mark on all of us and have a very personal impact on people in those communities and around the world," said Kathy Brown, who heads the ISOC.

South Korea is hosting the 19th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, referred to as the PP-14, in the port city of Busan until Friday. The ITU, a U.N. agency, deals with technological standards, radio frequency allocations and improvements in communications services.