Demographic data very important in vaccination efforts: CPD


An online poll shows that online pre-registration facilities and demographic data have been very important and effective in vaccination efforts.

Some 64 per cent of the poll respondents said marginalised communities received equal opportunity as regards vaccination.

Senior Research Fellow at Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Towfiqul Islam Khan presented the findings from the online poll which was conducted prior to a session titled ‘Data-driven Vaccination Strategy for a Covid-19 Free World.’

The event was held at the United Nations World Data Forum (UNWDF) 2021 in Bern, Switzerland in association with Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme, ICT Division and Cabinet Division, Government of Bangladesh; Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC), Argentina; Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh; Southern Voice; Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, USA and The City, USA on Tuesday.

Data has played a critically important role, both nationally and globally, in achieving the shortest deployment period, said a CPD media release.

Similar to other instances of data usage during Covid-19, experiences of using data in vaccine rollouts and related dissemination activities have varied considerably across nations of differing income groups.

From monitoring and controlling individual movement to disseminating information regarding vaccination availability and ultimately availing the vaccine, integrating data in Covid-19 reponses has neither been easy nor homogenous in approach.

In this regard, it must be mentioned that successful national Covid-19 vaccination efforts may define the recovery path for developing countries in the foreseeable future, said the CPD.

A comparative perspective based on the experiences of a low-income country (Rwanda), a lower-middle-income country (Bangladesh), a high-middle income country (Argentina) and a high-income country (USA) were discussed.

These four countries have diverse experiences in undertaking vaccination programmes (public and private) in response to the pandemic where innovative data uptake for decision making plays a critical role.

Dr Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chancellor, University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda stated that Rwanda proceeded using the ‘principle of implementation science’ which was based on knowing the context, barriers, data and evidence-based interventions that have been proved by science and are adaptable for use.

The vaccine strategy in Bangladesh began with target group identification (gender, age, location etc) using the NID database and a database from the Ministry of Finance, said Mr Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, a2i, Bangladesh.

In order to bridge the gap between the disconnected communities and digital services, Bangladesh leveraged their 14,000 community clinics and 4,500 union digital centres.

Combatting resource constraints, knowing priorities, tracking immunisation and coordinating between different ministries were crucial in Bangladesh’s vaccination drive.

Natalia Aquilino, Incidence, Monitoring and Evaluation Programme Director, CIPPEC, Argentina shared four recommendations.

These are coordination strategy amongst regional and national entities – both in a vertical and horizontal manner, central open data policy to produce and standardise data and address state restrictions, development of monitoring and evaluation framework and adoption of open government data standards, and disaggregation standards to allow inter-operability of data and multi-dimensional strategizing.

The session was moderated by Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voice and Distinguished Fellow, CPD.

He emphasised finding out how the impact of the pandemic will affect different sectors, different communities and groups (LNOBs, PNOBs, vulnerable people, minority groups).

In the realm of data, he said, there needs to be a new framework with new partnerships and rules of business with adequate attention to data privacy for an improved data ecosystem.

The pandemic has created a greater opportunity to redesign a more resilient national healthcare system and social protection system, said the economist.

The Swiss Confederation, in cooperation with the United Nations, is organising the event.

The Forum aims to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with high-quality, accessible, timely and reliable data.

The Forum brings together data and statistical experts and users from governments, civil society, the private sector, donor and philanthropic bodies, international and regional agencies, the geospatial community, the media, academia and professional bodies with the aim to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Source: United News of Bangladesh