The need for data in the time of COVID-19

Data in Fighting Covid-19

The current COVID-19 pandemic raises important questions about opening, sharing and using data. Utilizing data, data analytics and management and the power of global connectivity  gives us an opportunity to better deal with this pandemic.Due to this power, governments and other responsible bodies/institutions are able to better analyze large amounts of data across different parts of the world to effectively and efficiently respond to Corona Virus.  Getting timely, accurate data to get the pandemic under control in Africa is critical for the success of global efforts and in building strong data systems for the long-term,”

When responding to infectious diseases, timely and reliable data is important in making decisions and it informs which key actions should be incorporated in the response plan. Data gives insight into preventive actions, mobility, the spread of the disease, the resilience of the people and systems to cope with the virus and finally help public health and humanitarian groups respond more effectively to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Data is key in holding the leaders accountable, especially on how funds are being disbursed and used.

Data is essential for policy development, governance, training and research, human resource development, service delivery and budgeting. Collecting good quality healthcare data is important in helping monitor the spread of the virus at a greater speed and scale. More information and extensive data play a big role in understanding the demographics of those that have been affected and effect techniques and plans that helps in COVID-19 response.

Data for resource planning:

Data makes it easier to determine where to send the resources(i.e masks, ventllators, PPEs) and even how the the government can budget the COVID-19 funds. In order to better plan for COVID-19 response, there’s a need to better understand the demographics of the people that have been affected. The more data and information acquired of those at risk, the more accurately the government can decide where to focus the containment efforts and deploy the medical facilities

The more information the government and other response management institutions have regarding which age groups and pre-existing conditions are most at risk, the more accurately they can decide where to focus containment efforts or deploy medical supplies.

Data for transparency and accountability:

Crisis such as COVID-19 create a loophole for corruption AND the Government is required to manage the COVID-19 response funds with keen transparency & accountability and citizen participation to ensure that there’s value for money and prevention of corruption. The 2007 WHO ethical considerations emphasize the importance of transparency, public engagement and social mobilisation in all aspects of a pandemic response

Data is key in holding the leaders accountable, especially on how funds are being disbursed and used. The government therefore MUST disclose its COVID-19 response plan, estimated budget and planned revenue raising measures; and its fiscal, budget, and spending data audits to facilitate the tracking and reporting of emergency response expenditures both at the national and county government levels.

The donors also need to disclose how much they are donating so as to allow for close monitoring of the funds and enable fiscal transparency.

Using data for contact tracing:

Contact tracing involves identifying all the places where an exposed person has traveled. Data management software can combine cell phone usage data with geo-location information. By combining these two data sources, the pattern of an individual’s contact network is pieced together thus helping slow the spread of the disease.

Data for creating awareness:

Data used concurrently with technology plays a vital role in creating awareness in the community about the virus. In order to make information to be disseminated easily, the Crona Virus data needs to be collected, analyzed and packaged in away that a normal citizen can understand. There should be continuous awareness to the general population on the need to keep  social distancing, washing hands with sanitisers or soap frequently and wearing masks.

Leveraging data to respond to challenges  should be an important pillar of a government’s strategy to fight the pandemic. How governments make use of this data can help with Corona Virus management and meet their development objectives. We need to rely on data, data analytics and technology to better manage the spread of the virus