A group of researchers from Stanford University has highlighted major gaps and discrepancies in reporting by states and union territories in India regarding the corona virus. States like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar proved to be laggards in this research, while Karnataka got the top position.
According to the study titled ‘Inequality in Covid-19 Data Reporting Across India’, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have the worst rankings in Covid-19 data reporting while Karnataka has the best out of all states. However, the quality of Covid-19 reporting in India was only 0.26, which showed poor reporting across the country. ” This study is yet to be Peer Review.
Research also found that only 10 states provided visual representation of trends in Covid-19 data. 10 states do not report data classified by age, gender, co-morbidities or districts. In addition, researchers also pointed out that Punjab and Chandigarh compromised the privacy of people with quarantine and released their identifiable information on official websites.
Data Reporting of States on COVID-19
The study reported good quality reporting for Karnataka (0.61), Kerala (0.52), Odisha (0.51), Puducherry (0.51), and Tamil Nadu (0.51).
On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh (0.0), Bihar (0.0), Meghalaya (0.13), Himachal Pradesh (0.13), and Andaman Nicobar Islands (0.17) were ranked below.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh do not publish any data on their government or health department website. Therefore their CDRS (Covid Data Reporting Score) is 0, although Bihar releases some data on Twitter.
Karnataka and Punjab have the highest scores in availability. These two states report data pertaining to confirmed cases, number of people and deaths every day. They also report Covid-19 cases in intensive care units (ICUs). Historical data for both states is available as daily bulletins.
Among the states reporting data, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya score the lowest for availability. This is because they only release the total figures of confirmed cases, deaths and cured people. Covid-19 data can be accessed from their official websites for 83% of states.
Among the 10 states that provide visual representation of trends, Karnataka and Kerala scored highest (0.75). These states provide the trend graphics of confirmed cases, deaths, and cases for both total and daily data.
In general, the worst classification scores are for granularity (level of detail information available), even Jharkhand, the top state in this category, scored only 0.50. While the average general granularity score in the country is 0.17.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are the only states which provide details of death (including information on co-morbidity) for each deceased person.
The study found that states such as Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh have reported age, sex, co-morbidities or districts or factors whose covid 19
The study was conducted over a two-week period from May 19 to June 1, 2020. During this time 29 states were evaluated. In each state, the first case was registered at least 30 days before May 19. Therefore, each of these states had at least one month’s time available to develop a high quality data reporting system.
Inequality in CDRS in the states highlights three important findings at the national, state and individual levels-
First, it highlights the need for a central agency to monitor or audit the quality of data reporting on behalf of states, with the lack of an integrated framework for reporting Covid-19 data in India. Without an integrated framework, it is difficult to collect data from different states, gain insights from them, and coordinate an effective nationwide response to the pandemic. It reflects transparency and therefore enhances public confidence in the government. When the public becomes well aware, the container becomes easy.
Second, it also shows the lack of coordination in coordination or sharing of resources between states in India. Coordination between states is particularly important as more people can visit each other in the coming months. While it is not possible to set up a high quality dashboard in a short period of time in all states, they can take help and learn from the best data reporting practice adopted by other states.
Third, the unequal reporting score also shows that there is an inequality in access to public health information based on a person’s state of residence. There is also a difference in the security of his privacy. The disparity highlights that state-level efforts do not coincide with the central government’s approach under which it views public health data as a public commodity under the statutory framework of data privacy.
What is Methodology
The study indicates four key aspects of public health data reporting from India’s states and union territories – specifics such as availability, accessibility, detailed details, and privacy.
The purpose of the research framework was to assess the COVID-19 data reporting score (CDRS) for 29 states over a two-week period, from May 19 to June 1.
CDRS ranged from 0 (lowest) to 1 (highest). States that reported less than 10 confirmed cases till May 18 were excluded from the study.