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Apps Supporting Global Public Health

December 2016

By Tom Stibolt, MD, Mobile Musings Column Editor

Global public health seems a great place for developers to produce useful apps.

The World Health Organization provides the official WHO info app. This app provides the latest global health information. It updates daily with the latest news, feature stories, fact sheets, disease outbreak updates, and public health emergency information. It is available for free for both iOS and Android platforms in all six official WHO languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Russian.

Harvard University offers Public Health News. This app allows members of the Harvard Chan School community and others to connect with one another and stay up-to-date on breaking public health news and research. It provides top news stories, press releases, global health news stories, Harvard review articles, other public health news from across the web and its Twitter feed. It also provides a community message board, a calendar of upcoming events and optional push notifications for events and news. The app is available for free for both IOS and Android platforms.

The American Public Health Association provides “The Nation’s Health” app which provides mobile access to monthly APHA newspaper content as full-page, expandable images or as individual text articles. At present, it is not required that users be members of APHA although that may change. The app is free for iOS and Android.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control provides the CDC Mobile Application. This app features important health articles, Disease of the Week, popular journals, prevention tips, and updates timed with important health concerns and events throughout the year. It also provides easy access to social media so users can share stories, links, podcasts, and videos. The app is free and supports iOS, Android and Windows platforms.

CDC also provides FluView, an app that tracks influenza-like illness activity across the U.S. The app is free and available for iOS and Android. At present, there is no app for world influenza activity.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides the AIRNow app which provides location-specific reports on current air quality and air quality forecasts for both ozone and fine particle pollution (PM2.5). Air quality maps from the AIRNow website provide visual depictions of current and predicted air quality nationwide. A page on air quality-related health effects explains what actions people can take to protect their health at different AQI levels. The app is free and available for iOS and Android.

A small number of applications are available that are supposed to provide similar air quality data worldwide but they do not seem to be ready for use with numerous reported problems.

The U.S. Agency for International Development provides the Portfolio Map app that provides information about the development work USAID is performing every day.  The app gives users the ability to browse their portfolio for a subset of the countries in which USAID is working. The app also provides general country overviews at a glance and allows users to access more detailed information as needed. The app is free and only available for iOS devices.

Quite a number had comments complaining of bugs or complete failure to function as advertised. If you have an app recommendation for global health or otherwise, email us at:


Editor’s note: The ATS does not endorse any of the programs or products mentioned in this column.

Last Reviewed: September 2017