Space4SDG3: Good Health and Well Being

Published by- Joy Agrawal on 28/05/2021

Health is wealth as rightly said is of utmost important. Human capital is the most important resource of the country. A healthy and educated population of the country makes the country wealthy. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In times of this widely spread and destructive pandemic, satellite technology is a key essential to mapping and plotting the data. Heat maps and population maps analysed and taken from satellite imagery coupled with other factors such as census data has been able to provide local information about local spread and hotspots classification. This demographic vs geographic data can give insight into the fashion of the contagious virus in the coming weeks. This can help the government take key decisions about nation-wide lockdowns or measures to curb the spread. Another dilemma in a country like India is that maximum fraction of doctors practise in urban areas whereas the maximum population of the country is in the villages where people are mostly not very educated and hence don’t mostly follow the pandemic guidelines and might be more susceptible to this disease, hence a major contribution of space here is telemedicine. Doctors can make use of satellite communication and mobile telemedicine vans to give prescriptions to the village folk.

Space Research platforms like the International Space Station is the largest manmade structure in space and at all times 6 humans live there and perform groundbreaking research. In actuality, Space is a very good platform for medicine research, it is known that bacteria grows at a much faster rate on the space station than on Earth itself, this advantage can be used to produce more species of certain microorganisms which can be useful in treating diseases on Earth. When a person stays in space for extended periods of time, there isn’t any pressure on the bones this causes non-requirement for high bone density and therefore the bone density goes on reducing, this is similar to what happens to elderlies who lose their bone density as they grow older. This condition is known as osteoporosis, the research that is being carried on in space to prevent this from happening can be used for people with this condition. Folks up there on the station regularly take supplements to prevent this from and also do a tonne of exercise that exposes their bones to pressure conditions similar to that would be on the Earth under gravity via spring-like cords.

There is a lot of research on many other aspects being carried out it space for medical purposes. Space-based hyper spectral imaging as a matter of fact be used in mapping pollution via spectral analysis of chemical signatures. This can be used for public awareness and to intimate the government so that the necessary steps can be taken.

Even measuring water pollution from industries can alert citizens of the contents of the water they are drinking and help maintain the chemical disposal standards of different industries.

A new emerging field of work is vector movement monitoring. Monitoring environmental change and the emergence of diseases based on government repositories can help identify the subtle factors of diseases like heat waves or monsoon season. Monitoring pollutants and allergans and linking those with machine learning to the disease repository of hospitals to guage and cure patients of persisting problems. This generic understanding of pollutants and allergans can be used by pharmacies or hospitals to stock enough supplies for asthamatic or respiratory ailment patients. These alerts as observed through satellites can greatly help providing quality healthcare to all affected in say when pollen is seen increasing over areas or perhaps increase in SPM. Any increase in Allergan can be alerted through a satellite to the hospitals and even people so that those with extreme respiratory illness can use mask to prevent detrimental effects to their health.

So in a nutshell, space technology helps in data analysis and presentation based on geographic and demographic analysis for epidemiology studies. It can aid in setting up of telemedicine centres for the people living in less accessible areas or villages where there is less health care facilities available. Medical research aboard the international space station can provide solutions for a lot of diseases on Earth. Air and water pollution analysis through satellite based hyper spectral imagery can aid us in taking necessary action. All in all medicine can benefit a lot from space technologies and contribute to the Sustainable Development goal of Good Health and Well being.