(CMC) — The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says it is collaborating with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington to improve knowledge about health conditions of the population of the Americas, including the Caribbean, by strengthening data analysis capabilities and producing high-quality metrics to provide more accurate estimates.
PAHO said it has signed a new five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with IHME with whom it has had a five year working relationship and in light of the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now, both organisations will help build professional capacity in data analysis, modelling and forecasting methods, as well as in the joint production of high-quality metrics related to population health and its determinants, health system performance and health emergencies,” PAHO said.
PAHO said predictive analytics allows for the estimation of the behaviour of any health challenge with an acceptable degree of uncertainty in establishing when and under what conditions countries can predict changes in disease behaviour.
“With this information, in cases such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, demand for acute care medical services can be estimated, time frames for partial or total lifting of mobility restrictions can be determined, the effect of preventive measures such as the generalized use of face masks can be calculated, and even new needs that might arise in subsequent waves of the pandemic can be predicted,” it said.
PAHO said predictive models have been useful in estimating the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19; the resources needed such as hospital and intensive care unit beds; and the demand for supplies, such as personal protective equipment.
“These models become indispensable tools by providing perspectives that are crucial for policymakers, particularly in situations of high uncertainty, where information based on observations is limited,” PAHO said.