Though less affected than some regions of the world, the Pacific has not been spared from COVID-19. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pacific Community (SPC)’s Public Health Division has been closely monitoring the global and regional situation through its epidemic intelligence system and has been gathering data and producing weekly epidemiological reports on the COVID-19 cases reported in the Pacific.
Data and information are collected and received from different sources, especially official reports released by Pacific Governments and Ministries or Departments of Health that are available in the public domain (see details below). SPC also closely monitors other sources of information, such as media reports and national statistical releases. The data and information gathered from these sources is always verified with the relevant national authorities including Ministries or Departments of Health to ensure that the data and information are accurate.
‘Since March 2020, our Surveillance, Preparedness and Response team has put considerable effort into working with and supporting national authorities in collaboration with partners to enhance COVID-19 surveillance and response at national and regional levels’, says Dr Paula Vivili, Deputy-Director General at SPC.
SPC team gathers morbidity and mortality data and make it available and accessible through one single point of access on SPC website, through the COVID-19: Pacific Community Updates web page. This innovative web page has recently had a make-over to provide better visualisations of, and access to, the underlying COVID-19 cases and death data via the Pacific Data Hub.
Data-informed decision making is critical in the time of COVID-19 pandemic. As we have entered year two of the coronavirus pandemic and the situation continues to evolve in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), using cutting-edge technologies to provide real-time data is key. This allows the people and their governments and all those who are interested in the data to follow the rapid development of COVID-19 in the region, both from a health as well as a socio-economic impact perspective. More importantly this ensures that the data are available to all.
Through the collaboration and coordination between the Public Health Division (PHD) and the Statistics for Development Division (SDD), SPC has incorporated COVID-19 data for the PICTs into the PDH.Stat indicator database located with the Pacific Data Hub. This is now available online and updated twice a week.
SPC has built a pandemic-related monitoring system with interactive data visualisation products that are automatically generated by the database on the Data Hub. This now provides Pacific People across the region with timely and comprehensive data and information on the COVID-19 situation in their countries. The data is revised as and when new information and data is available in order to best reflect the current and evolving situation. All efforts are made to disseminate as much relevant information as possible.
“The Pacific Data Hub aims to provide timely access to data and resources required for evidence-based planning. There is currently no more pertinent dataset than the COVID-19 case and death data” says Epeli Waqavonovono, Director of SPC’s Statistics for Development Division.
The information can be visualised and analysed through a dashboard with an interactive map that contains information by country and also through a table and graphs which are directly generated by the data in the database. These web-based services are easy to download in multiple formats, and may be shared and reused by decision-makers. The Data Hub can also be used as a source of historical COVID-19 data in the Pacific Island countries and territories as daily data are available since the first reported cases in March 2020.
Story written by Camille Menaouer, Corporate Communications Office
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