Change You Can Play: Outbreak Responder
|March 21st, 2013|
|tags:||Africa, donation, epidemic, hospital, humanitarian aid, infections, Kenya, malaria, medicine|
Code Sustainable’s Outbreak Responder is a time-management game that places the player in charge of malaria control projects. The game focuses on showing the general dependencies and relationships between the actions taken against malaria and its outcome.
The goal of the game is to show and teach the individual elements of the fight against malaria and their interlacing without forcing the player to read exhausting explanation texts. The key insights are:
- The fight against malaria needs the trust and participation of local residents
- Fighting malaria needs both health care officials and local volunteers
- Donations, both local and global, are the most important revenue streams
- Weather, especially rain, has a heavy influence on the spread of malaria
- Malaria prevention is more efficient than malaria treatment
- There are short-term measures and long-term measures
The fight against malaria
The game will show that there are four main ways to help the local population:
- Raising Awareness: Earning the trust of the local population and involving volunteers
- Short Term Prevention: The application of short-term measures like larviciding, repellents or sprays
- Long Term Prevention: Supplying the population with long-term measures like bed nets or fly screens
- Treatment: By treating malaria infections
Code Sustainable is going to donate a part of the game's revenues to malaria projects. Everyone who plays Outbreak Responder will be able to choose the initiative he wants to support from a variety of projects. Thereby the game experience merges with the real world.
Outbreak Responder: A walkthrough
Starting Outbreak Responder on her iPad, Lisa chooses to play a campaign and immediately sees a map of Kenya showing different locations needing her attention to battle a lethal disease. Lisa taps on Malindi, a costal town on the eastern border.
A dialog opens and Wanjiru, a young terrified mother, tells Lisa that her child suffers from very high fever and several other kids died from malaria in recent weeks. Wanjiru urges Lisa to help and improve the situation in her neighborhood to avoid the death of more people.
As the dialog closes Lisa sees a birds-view of an African village. Glancing at Wanjiru’s neighborhood the problem seems obvious: there are hardly any bed nets distributed to its homes and you can clearly see many potholes and ditches filled with water from the recent rainfalls. Of course, these offer perfect breading conditions for mosquito larvae.
Lisa does not hesitate a second and starts putting together a team to solve the problem – her budget allows her to hire staff. Lisa and her staff get started right away. First, she has to inform the local residents of both the dangers of malaria, and what can be done to manage it.
A bit later, she chooses two of her larvicide specialists, Makori and Chilemba, to take care of the breeding spots. She taps on the homes of residents whose trust she has gained, and dispatches a health care worker with bed nets. These short-term actions do not solve the problem permanently: The potholes and ditches need be dried out, but Lisa neither has the adequate staff nor the equipment. Lisa switches to the human resources menu and decides to use her last funds to hire the source reduction specialist Kanoro to dry out the potholes. She also thinks about investing into training the local kids to help with the potholes. Switching back on the map Lisa can observe her team being busy implementing the countermeasures.
The recent stats have just arrived in Lisa’s inbox. The measures seem to work and the health level in Wanjiru’s neighbourhood is slowly improving. She is rewarded with more funding to continue working. Then another message arrives from Dr. Kwemba, the head of the clinic. He is worried that a lot of money is wasted through unnecessary treatment due to wrong diagnostics. He recommends building a lab. But at the same time the hospital is running out of medicine and field workers report rising infection levels on the coast. That battle has just begun.
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