post news network
Bhubaneswar, Nov 9: Medical Wikipedia, an app that provides mobile phone users with offline access to health-related information, has not only widened the scope of information made available but now also offers it in Oriya.
The Oriya version was launched late last month and the users can now also find information on subjects such as anatomy, diseases, medication, and sanitation in this language using the app.
The Oriya-enabled version of the app, which is about 50 mbs in size and is available for free download at Google Play Store, has more than 200 translated articles and has “already been downloaded by 326 users”.
The articles currently available include those on conditions such as cancer and microbial diseases such as ebola, zika, hepatitis, and Japanese encephalitis.
The original app, launched in 2015, now offers content in 10 languages, including Oriya and is reviewed by 47 Wikipedians. Oriya is the third Asian language after Arabic and Chinese, and the first among Indian languages, to feature in the app.
According to people behind the project, the Oriya version of the app, launched October 23, would have been launched earlier had it not been for some technical snags. The app will soon feature versions in Malayalam and Bengali. It will also include another 16 languages in due course.
Orthopaedic surgeon Subas Chandra Rout has been a key, voluntary contributor to the translation of the articles into Oriya. He claims to have translated more than 500 articles for the project; more of his work will become available on the app in due course as more content is being made available.
According to Subas, who also teaches medicine, he had started translating articles for Medical Wikipedia to help students. “I used to refer Wikipedia for various articles and so would many of my students. They used to say they would be able to understand things better if the content had been in Oriya. Medical terms are particularly difficult for many to understand. So for the last two to three years I have been translating these articles into Oriya,” he said.
Given the growing popularity of smartphones, Subas believes that the mobile phone will be the best platform to disseminate such information. “From zika prevention messages, to ways of recognising diabetes and the dangers of diarrhoea, a lot of information will be available to users of the app,” he said. He has been regularly contributing to the project over the past 2-3 years.
James Heilman, a Canadian emergency room physician and advocate for the improvement of the health-related content on Wikipedia, said Wikipedians such as himself and Subas were ensuring the building of strong communities of medical Wikipedians and translators.
“Dr Subas Chandra Rout was instrumental in creation of the Oriya content and version of the app,” Heilman stated in an email response.
“What we have done on English Wikipedia over the last three years is to create short overviews of key medical conditions. We now have more than 500 of these short overviews ready for translation. We depend on volunteers within language communities to do the translations, though,” he added.
Heilman believes everyone deserves access to high quality healthcare information and that the Oriya Medical Wikipedia app was a big step towards achieving the dream.