The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will significantly affect the way the international development community carries out important work to support vulnerable populations worldwide. To this end, Kimetrica has developed five innovative ideas to help inform COVID-19 decision-makers.
1. Predicting COVID-19 hotspots and trajectories for better decision-support: Kimetrica is exploring alternatives to direct testing to identify the spread of COVID-19. The use of proxy indicators provide imperfect but highly correlated signals on the spread of COVID-19. Kimetrica is exploring several concepts to create an early warning system, including:
- The development of SMS-based surveys of needs and wellness;
- Social-networking-based identification of symptomatic patients; and
- Monitoring of market prices for demand shocks.
Kimetrica is investigating how to combine these data with crowd-sourced information on spikes in COVID-19 symptoms in communities and at health centers. By helping predict COVID-19 hot spots and trajectories, Kimetrica can support decision-making around:
- Optimal locations for the delivery of preventative and relief resources;
- Optimal ways of stopping or slowing the spread such as:
- Short-term closures of key roads or markets
- Increased messaging to these communities
2. The Methods for Extremely Rapid Observation of Nutritional Status (MERON) smartphone application: Kimetrica’s innovative smartphone app uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to rapidly collect and share nutritional status data with decision-makers. This information has the potential to inform critical support activities, especially those aimed at assisting children under five. The easy-to-use smartphone app is used to take a photograph of a child or adult’s face, which can then be used to identify wasting and severe wasting by reading facial features. Since there is no physical handling of the individual, the danger of transmitting the virus is largely minimized. MERON is inexpensive and can be scaled quickly. MERON has proven successful in the USA, Ethiopia, and Kenya and is ready to be used in more countries.
3. Modeling Market Impacts to Inform Food Security Policy and Program Responses: COVID-19 could push nearly 600 million people into poverty. As the pandemic sends countries into lockdown, disruptions in food supply and increased food insecurity are likely, especially among the world’s poorest. Kimetrica’s Crisis Toolkit, a nascent interactive web-based analysis suite, supports the rapid identification of measures needed to reinforce critical value chains, and safeguard vulnerable consumers against major price shocks and shortages. This will help donors be proactive and shock-responsive, and to have clear insights for allocating crisis modifiers and other rapid funding tools.
4. The Kimetrica Migration Monitor (KiMM): KiMM is a new method for identifying migration origins, destinations, pressures, and attractors. Combining the best features of conventional linear mixed effects (LME) models with the power of machine learning in non-parametric modeling, KiMM predicts who will migrate where, and why, thereby allowing for the prediction of migratory effects, even in alternate and hypothetical scenarios. This tool can be used to influence policy decisions in response or to highlight unexpected consequences of policies intended to directly combat COVID-19. By using KiMM, an organization can better predict the expanding influence of COVID-19 across low- and middle-income countries and its impact on migration patterns and movement of goods and services in these countries. The tool is already being used worldwide. Kimetrica is adapting KiMM as needed for COVID-19-related migration pressures at the regional, national, and subnational levels.
5. The Decision Tree: The way donors typically collect data -- including household surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, etc. -- must adapt to COVID-19. Kimetrica’s solution offers guidance to donors and their implementing partners, to ensure that evidence-based decision-making does not suffer because of risks associated with conventional data collection. Protocols to inform data collection during and after COVID-19 are based on a decision tree that can help data collectors make informed decisions around whether, when, and how to collect data during and after the global pandemic. At every stage, decision-makers are able to access a user-friendly, web-based tool created by Kimetrica to consult the decision tree for the best way forward in any given scenario.
If you’re interested in learning more about or partnering on any of the above ideas to support COVID-19 decision-making, please contact the Kimetrica team here.
Kimetrica provides research, large-scale survey, information management, and modeling and simulation services for evidence-based decision-making and learning. Kimetrica works with governments and non-profit organizations to increase the impact and efficiency of their social investments, enhance accountability, manage critical risks, and build donor or taxpayer confidence. Kimetrica has run projects in over 50 countries around the world and continues to expand its reach. Kimetrica has offices in Broomfield, Colorado; Washington DC; Nairobi, Kenya; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Find out more at www.kimetrica.com.
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