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ZOOM: a generic personal computer-based teaching program for public health and its application in schistosomiasis control.
BULLETIN OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. 1991; 69(6):699-706.In 1989, staff at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland developed teaching software that can be used on IBM-PC and IBM-compatible computers to train public health workers in schistosomiasis. They tested in several schools of public health. They then improve it by incorporating a schistosomiasis information file (stack) in ASCII file format and a routine to organize and present data. The program allows the addition of other stacks without abandoning the user interface and the instructor can change data in the stacks as needed. In fact, any text editor such as Word-Perfect can create a stack. This software teaching program (ZOOM) organizes and presents the information (Dr. Schisto). Dr. Schisto is divided into 8 chapters: introduction, epidemiology, parasitology, diagnostics, treatment, data analysis, primary health care, and global database. Users can command ZOOM to communicate in either English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese. Basic hardware requirements include MS-DOS, 8086 microprocessor, 512 Kbytes RAM, CGA or MGA screen, and 2 floppy disc drives. ZOOM can also configured itself to adapt to the hardware available. ZOOM and Dr. Schisto are public domain software and thus be copied and distributed to others. Each information stack has chapters each of which contains slides, subslides, text, graphics, and dBASE, Lotus or EpiInfo files. ZOOM has key words and an index file to access more information. It also can do user defined searches using Boolean logic. Since ZOOM can be used with any properly formatted data, it has the potential to become the standard for global information exchange and for computer assisted teaching purposes.