Bolstering the COVID-19 Response with Information Management Services

Reliable, accurate and timely information is pivotal during any disease outbreak. iMMAP, therefore, has an important role to play, in both continuing its ongoing humanitarian information management support, as well as adapting to the information management needs of our partners during the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple countries across the globe

Food Distribution (Photo: WFP/Mahamady Ouedraogo)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has now spread across 213 countries and territories, some of which are already suffering humanitarian crises due to violent conflict and/or natural hazards. In these countries, significant portions of the population require urgent assistance, with prior needs now exacerbated due to the devastating impact COVID-19, and the secondary humanitarian, economic and political havoc, the outbreak is wreaking. These countries are in effect facing a “double emergency”.

During these challenging times, iMMAP continues its commitment to helping the most vulnerable populations by supporting the decision-making processes of actors in humanitarian contexts through our expertise in information management services.

In recent weeks, iMMAP has dedicated extensive effort to provide information management services and products to governments, agencies, and humanitarian clusters and sectors, specifically Health and WASH, to prepare for and respond to the impacts of COVID-19.

Reliable, accurate, and timely information is pivotal during any disease outbreak. iMMAP, therefore, has an important role to play, in both continuing its ongoing humanitarian information management support, as well as adapting to the information management needs of our partners during the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple countries across the globe:


Multisectoral Data Visualization Support to the COVID-19 Response

In Afghanistan, iMMAP is supporting the COVID-19 response by visualizing data to provide the WASH, Health, and Nutrition Clusters with overviews of their coverage.

The District Coverage Overview map is based on the COVID-19 Multi-Sector Humanitarian Country Plan for Afghanistan, which outlines the strategic response approach to the outbreak for the next three months (April-June 2020). The map aims to assist the clusters/working groups in their advocacy for fundraising for the response, particularly for the WASH and Health Clusters, as well as strategic planning.

iMMAP has also supported the Nutrition Cluster and its partners by producing a Nutrition Cluster Operational Presence (2020) HRP +COVID-19 Context Caseload map to visualize the operational presence and capacity of the Nutrition Cluster’s partners within the COVID-19 context.


COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Country Plan - District Coverage Overview

Nutrition Cluster Operational Presence (HRP + COVID-19 Context Caseload)


Support to the Health Cluster and the COVID-19 Plan

iMMAP is providing support to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in its role with the Health Cluster and directly in tasks related to the elaboration of the new COVID-19 Plan. In addition, through the Health Cluster iMMAP is providing information systems support to the two co-leads, the Ministry of Health and PAHO, in order to collect data around healthcare system capacities throughout the country. Furthermore, aside from direct support to the plan through the Health Cluster, iMMAP is also providing COVID-19 related planning support to the WASH, Food Security, and Nutrition Clusters, as well as the Colombia INGO Forum.

Settlement Detection through Remote Data Collection

COVID-19 is having an enormously detrimental impact on Venezuelan migrants and refugees throughout Latin America. In Colombia, many refugees and migrants dwell in informal settlements built within impoverished areas. The work of iMMAP and its partners, Thinking Machines and Premise, is facilitating the detection and profiling of key settlements throughout the country, aiming to identify vulnerable areas where the actors responding to the COVID-19 outbreak can concentrate their efforts.

Growth of informal settlements in Colombia over time


COVID-19 Response Interactive Dashboad

COVID-19 Emergency Services


Workshop on Mobile Data Collection and Open Street Maps Training

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) DRC community responded effectively during the Ebola 2018 outbreak by mobilizing OSM contributors to digitize buildings, roads, and rivers, which were then made publicly available through HDX. Methodologies proposed were all-inclusive, based on knowledge exchange and a participatory approach in collaboration with private partners, traditional practitioners, and DPS and BCZ, the health provincial and district central offices, respectively.

In the field, NGOs, the United Nations, and the ministry staff relied upon the OSM base map, or the OSMAND navigation tool, to identify buildings. 3,134 points, schools, villages, markets, and churches have been integrated into the OSM platform during the OSM training. Furthermore, 3,586 health structures have been cleaned and added to the OSM base. The geographical coverage goes from Bukavu to Bunia via Beni (South Kivu, North Kivu, Ituri).

Building upon this success, iMMAP and OSM plan to involve local actors and capture their knowledge to improve the understanding of the area. Geographic information (the location of health areas, health structures, schools, and markets, among others) is used by the humanitarian community and the government in DRC to track epidemics such as Ebola and COVID-19 and to plan activities related to the response.

According to OCHA, humanitarian needs are rising in Ethiopia as communities face multiple and simultaneous shocks, including longstanding chronic needs, food insecurity, desert locust, floods, protracted violence, and now COVID-19. iMMAP has been supporting humanitarian clusters in Ethiopia through the provision of information management services since 2017 and continues providing critical support during the COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID-19 Response Support to the Federal Emergency Coordination Center

iMMAP IMO seconded to OCHA supports the Federal Emergency Coordination Center (ECC), recently activated by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRM), by developing daily and weekly briefings to ECC partners and donors that consolidate, present and analyze relevant data, and by drafting bi-weekly situation reports to facilitate the coordination of the COVID-19 response activities. This support will continue through the revision of the Humanitarian Response Plan 2020 to incorporate the COVID-19 response.

Support to the Health Cluster in the COVID-19 response

iMMAP supports the Ethiopia Health Cluster’s COVID-19 response by developing a 3W tool (who is doing what, and where) that captures the response activities of 30 partners operating in different locations of the country, allowing to identify gaps and optimize the distribution of protective materials. Moreover, we help enhance coordination through developing an online response monitoring tool that regularly captures the activities carried by health cluster partners, which are analyzed and presented through a weekly COVID-19 bulletin. Additionally, iMMAP produces a weekly COVID-19 dashboard that reports on 18 monitoring indicators developed in collaboration with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), helping to monitor and understand the COVID-19 situation in Ethiopia to tailor the response by aiding the people who need it most.


Partners Presence on COVID-19 Health Response

COVID-19 Weekly Monitoring Indicators Dashboard

United Nations Agencies Geographical Presence


Data Visualization Support to the Ministry of Health and Environment

iMMAP continues to provide technical assistance to the Iraq Ministry of Health and Environment (MoH) during the COVID-19 pandemic by analyzing and visualizing the ministry’s daily recorded data. This assistance aims to provide a clear understanding of the spread of the disease in Iraq through the creation of detailed statistical maps that present information on the total and daily number of cases, recovered, and deaths, as well as the geographical distribution of the outbreak. This aids the government in its decisions related to slowing and containing the spread of the virus in Iraq.

Interactive Dashboards to Support IRCS Operations

By managing and visualizing data collected by the Multifunctional Knowledge Management (KM) System - developed by iMMAP exclusively for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) - iMMAP is supporting IRCS in responding to COVID-19 by developing interactive and dynamic dashboards, which are used to analyze, monitor, and visualize IRCS’s response coverage in the country. These dashboards assist the IRCS and its partners to identify the unreached areas in order to raise health awareness within these communities and to ensure vulnerable people in Iraq receive the assistance they need.


IRCS Response to COVID-19

Geographical Distribution of COVID-19 Cases in Iraq

Number of COVID-19 Cases in Iraq and Neighbouring Countries

Raising community awareness regarding COVID-19 (Photo: OCHA)


COVID-19 Support for the Health Sector

iMMAP’s Health Sector information management officer (IMO) is actively maintaining a daily database of confirmed cases, active cases, discharged cases and deaths across Nigeria to analyze trends. In addition, COVID-19 Risk Maps have been produced for Yobe state to assist in the planning of the response to the pandemic, with similar assessments for other BAY states ongoing.

Multisectoral Support to the COVID-19 Response

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Food Security Sector (FSS) IMO has been actively supporting the FSS team to establish guidelines for the sector’s partners COVID-19 response. This includes establishing a COVID-19 task force on the various subsectors under FSS such as Food Assistance, Remote Monitoring, and Agricultural Livelihoods. The sector IMO has also been working with partners to provide an accurate picture of who is doing what, where, and to whom, as well as acting as a liaison to other sectors – including the WASH sector – to implement a collaborative approach in camps during this pandemic.

iMMAP’s WASH sector IMO is closely working with partners to develop an adaptive continuity plan that establishes procedures for scenarios such as restriction of movement. Other activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic involve the development of IM systems for partners to report COVID-19 activities, report gaps in the availability of hygiene enhancers, and track hygiene levels in health facilities. The IMO is also working collaboratively on an assessment for COVID-19 preparedness and response.

The Camp Coordination and Camp Management Sector is supported by iMMAP through the coordination of COVID-19 inter-sector preparedness, prevention, and response strategies.

In the Education Sector, iMMAP’s contribution included support in the development of a COVID-19 Response Strategy in order to streamline partner’s COVID-19 responses and advocate for donor funds in the event of school closures.

Finally, In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, iMMAP's Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (BVIMS) Officer supported the review of materials from the GBVIMS Global Team and GBV Area of Responsibility that are being contextualized and shared with response partners to enable the continuity of their programs during the pandemic.


Yobe State COVID-19 Risk Map for Local Government Areas (LGA's)


COVID-19 Health Cluster Matrix

In Yemen, the iMMAP IMOs seconded to the Health Cluster are collecting data on partner’s activities, locations, and capacities relevant to the COVID-19 response, within the Al Hodeidah, Ibb, and Aden sub-clusters, to develop a matrix containing critical information to complement the Health Cluster’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.

Epidemiological Database

Moreover, In Al Hodeidah governorate, an iMMAP IMO assisted the Health Sub-cluster in multiple IM objectives through the involvement in support of WHO’s Operations Center (OpsCen). The iMMAP IMO also played a key role in developing a centralized database to support the epidemiological team. The database contains information on fishermen who were in physical contact with sailors from Ethiopia and other at-risk groups. To ensure the sustainability of the newly developed database, the iMMAP IMO conducted training to familiarize the WHO team and partners with the system.

COVID-19 Maps

An iMMAP IMO has developed a preparedness map for COVID-19 on behalf of OCHA to reflect the number of different modalities, including blankets, canned food, tents, quarantine centers, water tanks, and hygiene kits, available in the different regions of Yemen. This process is ongoing and will be systematically updated. Moreover, the iMMAP Health Cluster IMO in Sana’a has created a COVID-19 Isolation Center Location and Partners Support map.


Health Sector Standby Partnership Personnel

iMMAP has been requested to deploy several Standby Partnership Programme personnel to provide information management technical support to the Health Sector in the United Nations Regional Offices in Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East in their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly in countries with fragile health-care systems. As part of our surge support services, iMMAP has already deployed:

• One data management and data visualization officer who supports information management activities, aimed at strengthening the teams in charge of visualizing data through the development of maps, infographics, and dashboards.

• Two GIS Officers in charge of managing GIS systems, collecting, analyzing, updating, and maintaining geospatial datasets, coordinating field data collection, and creating maps and other cartographic products to enable team leads to make strategic decisions.

In these challenging times amid the COVID-19 outbreak, iMMAP remains committed to assisting our partners with information management services, to support the roll-out of an effective and inclusive humanitarian response that aids the most vulnerable populations during this unexpected and unprecedented global health crisis.

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