Researchers from Stanford University have found that while Karnataka has done good Covid-19 data reporting, states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have fared the worst across India.
The study, published in the preprint repository ‘medRxiv’, found a disparity in the quality of Covid-19 data reporting across India.
According to the researchers, transparent and accessible reporting of Covid-19 data is critical for public health efforts.
“We presented a comprehensive assessment of the quality of Covid-19 data reporting done by the Indian states and Union Territories,” the study researchers from the Stanford University in the US wrote.
“This assessment informs the public health efforts in India and serves as a guideline for pandemic data reporting by other governments,” they added.
For the findings, the research team designed a semi-quantitative framework to assess the quality of Covid-19 data reporting done by the states and UTs of the country.
This framework captures four key aspects of public health data reporting — availability, accessibility, granularity and privacy. The research team then used this framework to calculate a ‘Covid-19 Data Reporting Score’ (CDRS, ranging from 0 to 1) for 29 states based on the quality of Covid-19 data reporting done by them in the two-week period from May 19 to June 1.
“Our results indicate a strong disparity in the quality of Covid-19 data reporting done by the state governments in India,” the researchers wrote.
The findings showed that CDRS varied from 0.61 (good) in Karnataka to 0.0 (poor) in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, with a median value of 0.26.
In addition, the researchers identified that Punjab and Chandigarh compromised the privacy of individuals under quarantine by releasing their personally identifiable information on the official websites.
According to the study, the disparity in CDRS across states highlights three important findings at the national, state and individual level.
At the national level, it shows the lack of a unified framework for reporting Covid-19 data and highlights the need for a central agency to monitor or audit the quality of data reporting done by the states.
Without a unified framework, it is difficult to aggregate the data from the different states, gain insights from them, and coordinate an effective nationwide response to the pandemic. Moreover, it reflects the inadequacy in coordination or sharing of resources among the states in India, the study said.
“Coordination among the states is particularly important as more people start moving across the states in the coming months,” the authors wrote.
According to the latest data available on the website of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total number of cases in India has reached 13,85,522 of which 32,063 people have lost their lives, while 8,85,577 have recovered.