Data is critical in the fight against COVID-19

Timely and accurate data are very critical in making an informed decision based on sound empirical evidence in addressing challenges facing us.

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2(SARS CoV-2), the virus responsible for the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), that has overwhelmed the world and fast claiming lives has brought upon us the need for accurate data to take sound decisions in mapping out strategies to break the transmission among the population. 

One institution in Ghana helping in this regard is the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

The GSS is the government institution that is mandated to collect, collate, and disseminate official statistics in the country.

According to the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim the GSS has created a ‘dashboard’, a data supply infrastructure as additional tool in informing decisions to the fight the COVID-19 and break transmission down or break it.

The dashboard, we are told, is going to complement data from the Ghana Health Services and other existing national data to determine hotspots within the country that are likely to be heavily hit in the event of escalation of the disease across the entire country.

Already, the GSS has identified some geographical areas within the country that are likely to suffer most because of the proportion of older people in those geographical areas.

Although the risk  factors for getting infected from the disease abounds in the population, evidence suggest that older persons who are 60 years and above and with underlying health problems like heart disease, asthma, chronic lung diseases are at most risk.

This is not to say that because our population is youthful, suggesting a minimal risk like other countries that have large older population, we are immune from attacks. No, we are still at risk in view of the fact that we have more than seven percent population made of persons above 60 years.

This is why it is important to have adequate data to guide us in decision making.

We recognize, however, that, it is one thing generating the data and another thing making use of the data. It is important that we do not allow the data to gather dust.

We, therefore, urge the government to make good use of this critical data infrastructure to make informed decision to address the challenges facing the country now and into the future.  

The implementation of all the measures we are instituting to fight the COVID-19 would be measured by accurate, reliable and timely data. And the GSS is capable of generating the data.

Consequently, we implore the government to continue to resources the GSS and other allied agencies responsible for data collection and analysis to enable them to do more for the country.

We are in a country of limited resources, but we still have to invest in critical areas, and it is the hope of Ghanaian Times that GSS as one of the institutions would attract the needed investment so as to provide us with adequate and reliable date is worth committing more resources.

Sound decision-making is based on empirical data to guide planning.

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