Data-driven decision making possible in South Africa’s fight against Covid-19

October 14th, 2021
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IQbusiness has written to the National Coronavirus Command Council (the NCCC) to offer the South African government a unique data-driven tool to assist decision-makers with the information they need to effectively combat the ongoing spread of Covid-19 in our country.

IQbusiness understands that the safeguarding of lives has had an unintended ripple effect on our economy. And while government efforts have aimed to mitigate the unintended economic consequences of blanket approaches to combatting the spread of Covid-19, this has been a difficult task, in a complex and large country such as ours.

With more access to current, relevant data that IQbusiness will share with the NCCC, blanket national restrictions do not need to characterise the response to Covid-19 any longer. This is especially important in South Africa, where local and provincial socio-economic dynamics affect infection rates differently.

Working together with respected global experts at the Social Progress Imperative,IQbusiness has offered the NCCC the use of an Integrated Risk and Response tool (the IR tool) to assist South Africa in its fight against the spread of Covid-19 while managing the impact on the economy.

Using a battery of social, economic and health indicators, the IR tool is able to provide this unique and accurate overview by drawing on Facebook’s “Mobility for Good” function. This function tracks the actual mobility of citizens, with their permission, and gives instant feedback on where and how frequently people are moving around the country.

The IR tool will provide the NCCC with reliable, granular and localised information to better guide its response to flattening the Covid-19 curve. It would enable the NCCC to make responsible decisions that encourage economic activity in cities and provinces where strict regulations do not need to be applied. This would help South Africa enable high mobility – with appropriate protocols in place – where infection rates are low, in order to stimulate our local economy.

By using the IR tool, the NCCC would also be able to immediately assess which areas have high infection rates and should therefore be subject to heightened restrictions that limit mobility and interactions between people.

This latest initiative at IQbusiness is part of a 4-year relationship with the Social Progress Imperative (SPI) in Washington and London to develop measurement and prioritisation frameworks for use in South Africa. In partnership with SPI, IQbusiness is providing a South African version of the IR tool – that is already being used in 26 countries to proactively track and target responses to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. SPI provides decision-makers and everyday citizens with the very best data on the social and environmental health of their societies to help them prioritize actions that accelerate social progress.

It is clear that we will have to use every tool at our disposal if we are to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic towards a future of hope and shared prosperity, and the IR tool will enhance the NCCC’s ability to make informed and transparent decisions as part of its work as we approach the year-end summer season.

IQbusiness respectfully offers the ongoing use of the IR tool to the NCCC in order to assist in South Africa’s successful and data-driven response to the outbreak of Covid-19. It is our aim to support government’s efforts to curb the spread, while ultimately ensuring our country’s continued sustainable economic recovery and growth.

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