Utilizing Health System Data to Respond to COVID‑19 in Seven Resource Poor Countries
Given challenges with poor health infrastructure and limited testing capabilities, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are more vulnerable to the negative effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic. Therefore, it is critical for national health programs in LMICs to use existing data resources to optimize the COVID‑19 response and to assess the direct and indirect effects of this response on health care access more broadly. Here, we propose to use national health systems data to a) establish COVID‑19 syndromic surveillance to rapidly identify local hotspots to inform efficient testing strategies and resource allocation and b) assess the impact of the COVID‑19 response on health care access across a range of maternal and child health and infectious diseases services. Teams from seven LMICs – Haiti, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Rwanda and Sierra Leone – are engaged in this work, and we are leveraging ongoing research and implementation partnerships between The University of British Columbia, Harvard Medical School, and Partners In Health. This work will inform the national strategies in these seven countries, and through international dissemination of this work and the accompanying annotated code, will facilitate replication of these methods in other LMICs for optimal response to the COVID‑19 and future outbreaks.