Imagine an Instagram that could be used to inspire real social action—perhaps one designed to combat the spread of deadly diseases. This might sound far-fetched, but a version of this app—known as PODD (Participatory One Health Disease Detection project or "look closely and you will see" in Thai)—already exists in Thailand. Thanks to a group of vets at Chiang Mai University, the app is now helping rural Thailand communities fight back against livestock-borne diseases like Ebola and bird flu.
Here's how it works: "Disease detectives," or volunteers with access to the PODD app, snap pictures of any "abnormal health events" they might see around the village. The images they take through the app are location-tagged, which allows scientists accessing the database to predict infection patterns. Within 24 hours of the reported incident, vets visit the scene to observe the threat and treat the area accordingly.
An estimated 5000 volunteers now access the app to regularly report incidents. This, in turn, has effectively stopped the spread of many diseases and saved the Thai government millions of dollars.
Watch the full video from BBC below: