By Luis Burón B.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues with a steady pass in the region, the Coordination Center for the Prevention of Disasters in Central America and the Dominican Republic (CEPREDENAC) has launched the 'SICA COVID-19 Information and Coordination Platform', focused on enhancing the availability of up-to-date information for decision-making in the region.
The main objective of the platform is to complement national efforts and advance strategic approaches, leveraging regional capacities and synergies in support of national processes already under way.
The initiative is based on a historic resolution included in the declaration 'Central America united against the coronavirus', which triggered the development of a regional contingency plan aimed at complementing national efforts for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19.
This platform consolidates the region's information in order to have a better understanding of the impact of the current pandemic at regional level and from a risk management perspective. The initiative collects official information such as: confirmed cases, recoveries, deaths, affected population, response strategy, hospitals, isolation centers and even points out the location of airports, seaports and landports.
The platform includes forecasts, most affected areas by country and, through a partnership with NASA, sensitives areas to flooding and landslides.
The availability of this data facilitates an integrated risk management and contributes to an enhanced mitigation. The creation of models of possible impacts becomes a great tool to ensure an early response to the crisis and its effects. The information platform allows users to customize their own statistical graphs as well as to see projections models to estimate the impact in the near future on the region.
"We document the experiences of all the countries in the region through their statistics, and we make strategic alliances with NASA, World Bank, among others, to carry out joint actions," says Claudia Herrera, Executive Secretary of CEPREDENAC. “This effort allows all SICA countries to have more precise planning tool”, she added.
The platform is part of the actions of the regional contingency plan against the coronavirus, which was born at the initiative of the Pro Tempore Presidency of Honduras and the General Secretariat of SICA, which held an urgent virtual special meeting on 12 March 2020 to coordinate measures among SICA member States. The main intention is to support the coordination of a strategy to minimize the social and economic impact of the spread of the virus in the region.
The availability of an integrated geographic information system is considered by the SICA member countries essential to effectively address the spread of the virus from the viewpoint of integrated risk management.