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Challenge Creates Online Community to Fight Ebola Epidemic

Some 700 Internet users have joined a government-backed effort to foster ideas and solutions for combating the Ebola crisis.

How might we rapidly equip and empower the care community to fight Ebola?

That’s the question being posed to a global network of experts, doctors and everyday people across the Internet collaborating to find solutions to the Ebola crisis through the OpenIDEO Fighting Ebola Challenge.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of several agencies teaming with open source innovation platform OpenIDEO to manage the challenge and foster ideas, research and leads that could materialize into new tools for combating the deadly Ebola virus.

The effort stems from USAID’s recently launched Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development. People who submit strong ideas to the OpenIDEO Challenge will be encouraged to apply for funding under the Grand Challenge for Development. In September, President Barack Obama called on everyone to participate.

As of publication time on Thursday, 700 people were following the challenge. People have made 294 research contributions, sharing existing initiatives, experiences and perspectives on the Ebola epidemic; they have also offered 330 ideas, including the use of caregiving robots to augment human care. No idea or submission is considered insignificant. OpenIDEO encourages submissions from all parties, but cautions that it doesn’t endorse contributions as factual or as effective solutions for fighting Ebola.

“You don’t have to be an expert in healthcare or infectious disease to contribute your insights and ideas — in fact, some of the brightest solutions may be found in the most unthinkable corners,” OpenIDEO notes on its website.

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Oct 23 2014

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