In the hopes of helping local residents in Jardim Brasil—a district in the city of Olinda, Pernambuco—public school students used technology to contribute to the hunting of the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the region.
Equipped with an online tool, 19-year-old Jeovani Cipriano created a smartphone application that allows users to report breeding sites of the mosquito that transmits dengue, Zika virus, chikungunya, and yellow fever—the Aedes aegypti. The students then joined forces in an effort to tackle the problem.
The blueprint of the project was conceived in 2014, when students and teachers at the Desembargador Renato Fonseca High School were no longer attending school. A group of concerned students joined teacher Jorgecy Cabral, in charge of the school library, and paid the absent students and teachers a visit to see whether dengue had anything to do with the lack of attendance. It did.
“We checked the area surrounding the school for breeding sites. To our surprise, we saw they were everywhere. That’s when we started working together on the streets,” the teacher said.
The school became a model in the neighborhood. Many went to the school to report more breeding sites. That’s when the idea for an app came about.
Cipriano had to work hard for about two weeks, and used an online app creation tool to develop the platform in Jardim Brasil. “No one had knowledge about the field. I did some studying and did it myself,” the student recounted.
Cipriano, a highschool student about to graduate at the time, is now studying journalism at a private university, and said the app has received reports from other states as well.
The app is simple and brings information about mosquito-borne virus infections and tips on how to stop the proliferation of Aedes aegypti. There is a form for written reports and a map showing where stagnant water was found. It can be downloaded on Google Play and their website.
The initiative was awarded as highlight for introductory research at the Ciência Jovem 2016 science fair, a yearly event promoted by Espaço Ciência, a museum linked to the Pernambuco State Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation. The award took the initiative to Teccien Schöenstatt, a student technology and science fair organized by the Nuestra Señora de Schöenstatt school, in Paraguay, where the Brazilian students also received prizes.
That is where they learned about the International Science, Technology and Innovation Fair, another student’s event at the Santa Fé school, in Colombia. Organizers invited the students to show their work from September 13 to 17.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira