Data can help cities respond to COVID-19

Some South African cities share how they are using data to respond to COVID-19

Image by Gia Conte-Patel from Pixabay

City of Cape Town

Delyno Du Toit from the City of Cape Town (CoCT) says the CoCT has been using data to respond to COVID-19 through the collection of data related to the pandemic around business continuity, finance, the impact on HR as well as data around COVID-19 worldwide. CoCT has also been using data to try and understand the state of health in the city. “We have put this data on a dashboard for a broader audience in the city, CoCT is also part of a data team within the COVID-19 response Unit. To fully implement the use of data against COVID-19, CoCT has put together a data workgroup with the Western Cape province,” explains Du Toit.

City of Johannesburg

Monique Griffith from the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) says the city has been collating data on partnerships for example, for donating and manufacturing PPE required by workers. They are also collecting other data on the number of tests being conducted and the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths to understand COVID-19 hotspots.

City of eThekwini

Tshegang Chipeya from the City of eThekwini says eThekwini has prepared a presentation on the impact on the economy that relied on COVID-19 data to understand the most vulnerable areas of the economy and society to develop a response plan. She says eThekwini is also developing COVID-19 economic recovery plan which was presented by the mayor and used data to support certain interventions. eThekwini is also using local and global dashboards to communicate information about assistance packages which are available to businesses and citizens as well as Covid-19 figures specifically in Durban context.

City of Ekurhuleni

Meanwhile, Lucky Tsekeli from the City of Ekurhuleni says Ekurhuleni has established food banks as a phase 1 to respond to the need for food security using household data. The city has also made provision of health care services particularly in informal settlements that are unable to do social distancing by running tests in these areas. For areas where the city lacks adequate data, they are drawing on other sources of data and using different sources of data to respond adequately to the city’s needs during the crisis.

The civic tech perspective:

Civic Tech Innovation Network’s national organiser, Geci Karuri-Sebina, PhD, presented what the civic tech community is doing, what resources are available for cities to harness, and also what potential opportunities look like between cities and the civic tech community moving beyond the crisis with some international and African examples.

Typical COVID-19 response data tools

● Epidemiological info — a disease spread maps, stats, dashboards

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