Since the startup of the Epidemics Risk and Priority (EPI) Framework project in September 2017, we have made progress and implemented quite a few lessons learned.
SUMMARY TO DATE:
To create a composite index, we researched many methodologies and came to a consensus on one. With the assumption of perfect data and (open) data already collected, we evaluated our process with our knowledge partners. We initiated the EPI-Commission to set up new side projects (IT design & development, Implementation strategies) . We also had some setbacks on data availability, adjusted methodology according to data, received new (more) accurate data and reanalyzed the entire framework. Below is a brief overview of how the EPI project is currently set up.
The EPI Framework research has been divided into 5 separate research projects. Each research projects is conducted by a master student, who use the topic for their dissertations. These dissertations can be considered as pre-pilots for the EPI framework and mainly consisted out of open historical data.
During the pre-piloting of the EPI framework the main lesson was that we will often come up with insufficient data. The low quality and incomplete data that we were able to obtain in the initial stages of research, was a challenge for statistical analysis. We had assessed several ways of aggregation and imputation but all were ending up with illogical or incomplete results. As data will not always be readily available we need to ensure that the framework and methods allows for improvisation based on data available at a given time.
The breakthrough came when the Philippines Red Cross managed to acquire the incidence data with the support of the Philippines government and finally enabled us to do appropriate analysis. Which reinforces the reality that our Lead Scientific researcher Marc Van Homburg has stated before “without Data Collaboration and Partnership, there is no Data.”
METHODOLOGY & PEER INPUT:
We consulted Erasmus MC, professors of Maastricht University, UN OCHA Philippines and peers from within the Red Cross on our methodology and project prospects, which led to improvements in our methodology. We also had a workshop with Stefan Kienberger to discuss the Spatial Model research he conducted with peers.
Early results of the research seem to indicate some correlation between dengue and coping capacity, effect of the variation between provinces etc. Hopefully we can share these results more in depth as soon as we have finished all the analysis.
IT DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT:
In parallel with the EPI Framework research, we started to research IT design options – to ensure that the data flow can be sustainably established. We also researched implementation strategies- with a view to successfully implement our EPI Framework. Data is crucial to create a statistical model for a composite framework, meaning we need to ensure we have good data collaboration and a standardized IT system that can transform the raw data into useful information with minimum amount of resources. Storing data and maintaining the system and automating an entire data flow from raw data to statistical outputs required to be researched and set-up separately, but is still integral to the success of this project. Together with the IT-experts, we have designed a sustainable and semi-automatized data flow. This will save an enormous amount of time and resources in the long run and speed up implementation & adaptation across different countries!
Last but not least, we have also started a research on implementation strategies. As evidence shows that inventing and innovating are two separate concepts, to successfully innovate, an invention has also to be implemented successfully. But how? We are currently conducting a literature research on implementation strategies for different contexts and aim to create an implementation framework specially designed for the EPI framework. This will enable us, and our colleagues involved in the implementation to have a strategy-outline that we can ‘model’ according to the country and environment.
Please contact us if you have any feedback or insights as we believe that transparency and constructive criticism can only help us to build more qualitative projects.