26 August 2020

PAHO highlighted the Covid-19 data archive that was contributed by Minciencia and DO

News 
  • The archive has been developed and updated by the team at Data Observatory and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, and aims at delivering data used for analysing the impact and the adjustment to the pandemic.
  • Since its creation in April, the data archive has been accessed over 600 thousand times by researchers, academic institutions, and companies that have visited the pandemic-related data on a daily basis.
  • Minister Andrés Couve highlighted the work that has been carried out by Data Observatory, the delivery of epidemiological data on behalf of the Ministry of Health, the information received from the Transportation and Environment Ministries, and the additional data that were supplied by academia and the private sector.

In the framework of the Covid-19 Data Work Group meeting held by representatives of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Chile, and by authorities in charge of Epidemic Intelligence at the PAHO/WHO Regional Office in Washington, the value of the Covid-19 Database for the region was assessed as it delivers information related to the pandemic for public use in an open and standardized manner.

The Ministry of Science´s Covid-19 Database, embedded in a mass consumption platform, gives open access to communities of experts for the analysis of data. To date, Data Observatory (DO) has developed over 50 data products being fed from various sources. DO has performed the role of placing its technical and technological capabilities at the service of the democratization and the increment of the information´s accessibility and usage. The archive enables multiple groups to develop different types of applications, including models and visualisations.

The virtual meeting participants also valued the quality of the data collection in situ that was carried out by the Ministry of Health´s national health system, which is the main source of the data. Furthermore, the PAHO/WHO Representative in Chile, Fernando Leanes, the Regional Coordinator of the Pillar for Epidemic Intelligence, Enrique Pérez Gutiérrez, and the Covid-19 Response Manager for Chile, Mario Cruz, explained the use that has been given to the Covid-19 Database inside of the institution.

“Measuring the pulse of the outbreak´s behaviour and analysing the available information are essential tasks when making adjustments to public health measures. We are the users of the Covid-19 Database for regional and global surveillance, as well as for the delivery of information products on behalf of PAHO/WHO in the Region of the Americas. The richness of the data being delivered in an open and standardized format to the scientific community, in addition to the information products that have originated from the academic initiatives and the private developments related to data visualisation, are impressive,” pointed out Mario Cruz Peñate, who is the Coordinator for PAHO/WHO´s Covid-19 Response in Chile.

During the virtual meeting, the Minister of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, Andrés Couve, explained how both the amount and the type of information available in the Covid-19 Database have expanded thanks to the work of institutions like Data Observatory, to the delivery of epidemiological data from the Ministry of Health and information from the Transportation and Environment ministries, and to data provided by academia and the private sector that includes information regarding mobility.

“There has been an establishment of linkages, capabilities, and a system that didn´t exist previously which have made it possible for us to perform within an unprecedented collaborative framework between academia and the public sector. Delivering information that can be used for analyses, scientific and clinical studies, and among citizens has only progressed in one direction, and that is forward, advancing towards the delivery of more and better data related to the epidemic. An unprecedented effort made by three ministries and the academic community, a complete chain that demonstrates how value is added from the very first moment that a datum is collected, up to the time when it is possible to deliver the information to the public for its use in a periodic and standardized way,” Minister Couve pointed out.

Enrique Pérez Gutiérrez, Coordinator of the Pillar for Epidemic Intelligence and the person in charge of managing Covid-19 at the PAHO/WHO Regional Office in Washington, DC, explained how the international organization has laid out the data from Chile on a board and has used them in different disaggregated analyses: “These indicators are highly functional for monitoring the pandemic around diagnostics, comorbidity, bed occupancy, ventilation, incidence rates, and mortality ratios. Additionally, it is possible to carry out other analyses based on these data, such as the determination of the R Factor, which is an excellent indicator to measure how the level of transmission is spreading throughout the pandemic. Of the six WHO regions, the Region of the Americas is the one that keeps its surveillance based exclusively on cases and the one with the most comprehensive database. This is thanks to countries such as yours that deliver and transfer data online for it to be visualised,” he indicated.

Demián Arancibia, Alternate Director for the Ministry of Science at Data Observatory, pointed out: “This is also to acknowledge DO´s technical quality as they have gotten the automation and operation of the database off the ground, and they have been dedicated to this effort from Monday to Sunday during all these months.”

Leandro Zamudio, Manager of GIS and Environmental Services at Soporta, and user of the data platform that was implemented on GitHub, mentions that thanks to this platform, their team has contributed to the detailing of quarantine actions and their territorial scope at a neighbourhood level. “Our project is an interactive map that is set up at Radio Bío Bío, making it an open solution for having people informed on a daily basis. The panel board has exceeded 3 million visits since it was publicized at the end of March.”

In this way, Data Observatory has collaborated with academic institutions and public organizations by contributing technical capacity, platforms on Amazon Web Service (AWS), and its experience with Data Science at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (UAI) for delivering data that is relevant to the evolution of the pandemic and that includes data from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Environment, and data on national mobility from third parties. www.dataobservatory.net

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