Updated on: Monday, December 20, 2021, 03:05 PM IST

Dubai Expo 2020: Smartphones help curing a blinding disease


Dubai Expo 2020 is an international event gathering technological innovations from all over the world. This event includes artistic representation and conferences with professionals from various sectors. These professionals will discuss sustainable solutions to improve our future. The Expo also gives the UAE the opportunity to showcase their unique culture and history.

The themes include ecological solutions, new transportations methods and education programs using artificial intelligence.

Dubai Expo 2020 started on October 1, 2021. This worldwide event is a great platform for companies from all over the world. It allows great minds to present new technologies that will influence our future.

Several countries take part in the expo, and each one has its own pavilion. In addition to countries, several brands are involved, including Nissan and Emirates. These partners have also dedicated spaces to showcase their new projects that will shape the world of tomorrow.

Using Technology to Cure a Blinding Disease


As smartphones take up more space in our daily lives, even to play online, some companies continue to find inventive ways to use these powerful tools. Sightsavers is one of those companies. The firm came up with a surprising, brilliant idea: using Android devices to collect data in emerging countries to help cure Trachoma.

Sightsavers is a UK company that launched the Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP) in early 2016. They work in over 30 countries to prevent avoidable blindness and assist people suffering from disabilities. The main focus of their work is in countries located in Africa and Asia.

They partner with international organisations, governments and non-governmental organisations to distribute treatments. With this new initiative, Sightsavers’ goal was to collect data on millions of people using Android smartphones to help cure Trachoma.

Trachoma is a bacterial infection of the eyelids that, if untreated, can cause blindness. This infection is considered an NTD (neglected tropical disease) and can be cured with antibiotics, surgery or education on hygiene.

Even so, some countries don’t have access to these solutions. For these reasons, the World Health Organisation and other companies have volunteers going to third-world countries to assist local medical groups and collect data to assess the situation on several diseases that plague these regions.

How It Was Made

Sightsavers came to a simple conclusion: this is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, so the mapping teams needed an efficient and cheap way to collect as much data as possible.

Thanks to the UK Government’s funding, the company could equip mapping teams going door to door with Android smartphones. These smartphones had a built-in application that could transmit all the data to a cloud. The cloud then treated the data and transmitted it through a ministry-of-health-approved process via a secure web-based portal.

The app collected data from 2.6 million people from 29 countries. More than was collected in the previous 12 years before this initiative. Sightsavers was able to work with the WHO (World Health Organisation) to assess the state of the infectious disease. They now plan to aim for global elimination of the disease with adequate treatments.

Countries such as Gambia have already been able to eliminate Trachoma as a public health problem, making it the second country to do so in Africa. These results are particularly impressive. Especially when you consideringing in the mid-1980s, Trachoma was responsible for almost one out of five cases of blindness, according to the WHO.

The results provided by this initiative are impressive. So, they beg the question of its usage for other diseases that are still not taken care of with dire consequences. Also, what other use could we imagine to treat patients remotely using smartphones?

For example, a dedicated app giving tests to people on their smartphones could detect other eye-related conditions such as macular degeneration. The GTMP is only one of the many projects Dubai Expo 2020 will put forward this year. Many other innovations will be presented, including architectural, aeronautic and healthcare projects.


This project is only one of the many innovations that have been and will be discussed at the Dubai Expo 2020, which will come to an end in March 2022. If you want to know more about this unique Expo, don’t worry, you won’t need to book a plane. People can also follow the expo on their website with a virtual map that allows you to follow some of the events online.

The creators of the expo created a mobile app that’s downloadable on iOS and Android. This app allows everyone to follow this very important event. You can even book tickets to access it today.

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Published on: Monday, December 20, 2021, 03:05 PM IST