International health organisation, PATH, and in-memory analytic database developer, EXASOL, have joined forces to aid the Zambian Ministry of Health’s ambitious campaign to eliminate malaria by 2020.

EXASOL joins Visualize No Malaria, a partnership between the Zambian government, PATH and data experts Tableau, which harnesses technology to empower frontline health workers with the critical tools to accurately track and treat malaria.

Using real-time data and analytics, health officials can make data-informed decisions about how and where to tackle malaria outbreaks.

EXASOL will provide its cloud-based database to enable the Visualize No Malaria team to perform complex queries of not just “big data” but truly “massive data” with speed that enables almost instant rendering, allowing for real-time analysis, according to the company.

“Data analytics is often discussed as a way for business to derive value from the data they hold, whether that is to increase profitability or serve customers better,” said  CEO at EXASOL, Aaron Auld.

“But data can also unlock important information that can help organisations such as PATH improve the way they address malaria. This ultimately shows the value of data in saving lives,” continued Auld.

Allan Walker, a volunteer with expertise in data analytics and visualisation, is helping PATH’s Visualize No Malaria team create analyses that estimate where malaria cases will be more likely to occur. The analyses aim to find the relationship between the mosquito vector and the human carriers of the disease.

The team’s current project involves loading complex geospatial data into the EXASOL database to model geological features in Zambia’s Southern Province such as elevation and slope and hydrological features such as topographic wetness and stream power. This shows whether the land is dry or wet, and if water is still or moving.

The team also regresses time-series models of population density and mobility, and meteorological models of precipitation and temperature, to establish a relationship with the epidemiological data. Once honed, the analyses could be used by Zambian decision-makers to focus on probable malaria outbreak areas and quickly respond to new cases.

“EXASOL simply puts the ‘snap’ and ‘zing’ back into Tableau projects, regardless of scale, effortlessly returning queries of billions of rows of data,” said Walker.

“It has back-end database power and speed that Tableau developers require and users in the field will appreciate,” continued Walker.

“If you’re trying to inspire data use among counterparts and decision-makers, watching a spinning wheel and waiting for dashboards to render can often be a deal breaker, said Director of PATH’s Results Management, Measurement and Learning Department, Jeff Bernson.

“Partnering with EXASOL and Tableau is helping us tackle challenges with data access and speed. It truly aligns with our focus to develop and apply transformative innovation in low-resource settings,” concluded Bernson.

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