An Initiative to Strengthen Africa’s Data Ecosystems on COVID-19 Launched
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data have launched an initiative to strengthen Africa’s data ecosystems in the face of COVID-19.
It is anticipated that the initiative of using data will see global partners coming together to effectively use and understand the importance of using data for solutions needed to save lives in the wake of COVID 19 Pandemic.
The initiative plan to achieve through a more collaborated efforts in the areas of access to relevant data, analytics and visualization, training and capacity development, technology and connectivity, and financial resources.
During the launch Monday afternoon through an online media briefing, both ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe, C.E.O for Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data Claire Melamad and Director of African Centre for Statistics at ECA Oliver Chinganya agreed that tackling the pandemic requires an effective way of using data and information on the disease.
In recent years, development partners have been providing support in building foundations of robust data ecosystems that could help in providing solutions to crises in many African Countries.
“Tackling the pandemic requires data and information for the formulation of realistic policies and provision of resources in specific areas to make meaningful impact,” said ECA Executive Secretary Ms Vera Songwe.
She expressed optimism that addressing challenges during pandemics like the present COVID 19 is achievable since tools and solutions already exist in the region.
She nevertheless noted resources could be a challenge.
“Inadequacy and instability of resources to sustain data systems for health in Africa could derail efforts in using data systems to fight Covid19 in Africa , hence the need to do more in this area of resources,” added Songwe.
The partners believe this is one solution among many which institutions could use to fast track decision-making processes using data to expedite the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Claire Melamed, C.E.O for Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data said countries need to critically look into citizens’ basic needs that results in a crisis.
“Lack of adequate shelter, sanitation and health systems in low and lower-middle-income countries puts COVID 19 the worst humanitarian crisis, hence the need for countries to get timely, accurate data to suppress impact of the pandemic in the region” said Melamed
On his part Director for African Centre for Statistics at Economic Commission for Africa Oliver Chinganya, outlines critical areas that if countries dwell on, they could easily contain the pandemic.
“Understanding who is most at risk, to allocate resources effectively improved health infrastructure and staffing, monitoring and tracking of economic impact are some of areas that require use of data to contain the virus.”
The experts have tipped countries Malawi inclusive to use cautiously funding that development partners are pumping in for global efforts in dealing with the pandemic to be achieved.
Currently there is debate in Malawi on COVID funding, with many accusing government of putting its priorities upside down in its response on the pandemic.