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2015-09-08

Telenor: Telenor Research Deploys Big Data Against Dengue

Oslo, Norway, 8 September 2015
- A new study by Telenor Research in conjunction with the Harvard T.H. Chan
School of Public Health, Oxford University, the U.S. Center for Disease
Control, and the University of Peshawar, demonstrates the power of mobile
data to predict and track the spread of epidemic disease.

The study, "Impacts of human mobility on the emergence of dengue epidemics in
Pakistan", analysed anonymized call data records from more than 30 million
Telenor Pakistan subscribers during the 2013 dengue outbreak, using the large
sample to accurately map the geographic spread and timing of the epidemic.
The data was aggregated and anonymized within Pakistan. The resulting model
contributes to the design of more effective national response mechanisms in
Pakistan and other at-risk nations, while demonstrating the potential for
call records to accurately reveal mobility patterns that can help combat and
predict the spread of virulent disease.

The Threat
"Dengue is the fastest-spreading tropical disease in the world, with half the
global population now living in at-risk regions including Asia, the Americas,
and Africa," notes co-author and Senior Data Scientist at Telenor Research,
Dr. Kenth Engø-Monsen, who leads Telenor Research's Data Driven Development
initiative.

"At the same time, public health professionals, data scientists, and mobile
operators working together wield important weapons to combat the spread of
the disease, including using Big Data to stay a step ahead of an epidemic. In
this case a very large mobile data set gave us a bird's eye view of the human
movement that drives transmission, and will help health authorities in
at-risk areas put adequate countermeasures in place in anticipation of an
outbreak. This is especially important as we see increasing transnational
movement of people and the consequent global spread of dengue."

The dengue carrier mosquito species Aedes aegypti thrives in urban and
semi-urban environments and transmits the virus between humans. "Dengue can
cause fever, shock, severe bleeding and death, particularly in the young and
the elderly, the most vulnerable among us. This is especially true in regions
without adequate treatment facilities," added Dr. Engø-Monsen.

There is currently no cure, or vaccine against, dengue infection, notes Dr.
Engø-Monsen.

The Response
Current dengue countermeasures generally focus on control of the carrier
species A. aegypti, although these measures are often logistically difficult
and vary in efficacy; they also do little to counter large-scale outbreaks
once they are underway.

In the absence of effective prevention and treatment, public health system
preparedness remains the single most important tool for minimizing outbreaks
and preventing mortality. Of paramount importance is optimizing the
transmission forecasting capability of health authorities.

The research team found that mobile phone-based mobility estimates accurately
predicted the geographic spread and timing of epidemics in both recently
epidemic and emerging locations. The study combined the data with dengue
climate-suitability maps and estimates of seasonal dengue virus importation
to generate fine-scale risk maps.

"The maps and tools we have created have direct application to future dengue
containment and epidemic preparedness and can also be applied to other
infectious diseases," observed Dr. Engø-Monsen. "We look forward to working
further with public health authorities in Pakistan and elsewhere to deploy
them in the prevention and control of future epidemics."

Dr. Caroline Buckee, assistant professor of epidemiology, Harvard University
and the study's senior author, said: "Accurate predictive models identifying
changing vulnerability to dengue outbreaks are necessary for epidemic
preparedness and containment of the virus. Because mobile phone data are
continuously being collected, they could be used to help national control
programs plan in near real time."

The Impact
Telenor Group's ambition is to contribute to finding sustainable long-term
solutions to social challenges, creating shared value for society and the
company. "This study shows that through pooling our expertise with that of
our partners we can contribute to making potentially life-saving impact,"
says Mai Oldgard, Senior Vice President and Head of Sustainability in Telenor
Group. The insights and models from the study can now be applied to further
countries and diseases.

The study is co-authored by Amy Wesolowski, Taimur Qureshi, Maciej F. Bonid,
Pål Roe Sundsøy, Michael A. Johansson, Syed Basit Rasheed, Kenth Engø-Monsen,
and Caroline O. Buckee, and has recently been published in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the journal of the U.S. National
Academy of Sciences.

To view the corresponding announcement from Harvard University, please visit:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/

Media Contacts:

Tor Odland, Tel: +65 9777 4782, E-mail:tor.odland@telenor.com

Todd Datz, Tel: +1 617-432-8413 , E-mail:tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu

About Telenor Research
Telenor Research is Telenor's corporate unit for research. The unit conducts
research and delivers research based advice on topics such as digital
services, Big Data, Internet and network technology, competitive strategy,
and customer experience.

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This announcement is distributed by NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions on behalf of NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions clients.
The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Telenor via Globenewswire

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