Pakistan’s COVID-19 Response: Pro-activity, Impact and Needs Assessment, and Using IT Proactively

The Government of Pakistan should be carrying out a Covid-19 Impact and Needs Assessment (CINA), in accordance with the global practice. []

The tool preferred for the required COVID-19 CINA in Pakistan is a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) hybrid, without delving into the tedious Damage and Loss Assessment (DALA). Essentially in this desired CINA, there should be three components: service delivery, social cohesion and economic impact.

While some may rebut this idea, this can be an enormous management tool for the government during, and post crisis, and can be done by a dedicated team in parallel with the reactive measures that are being taken to manage the pandemic.

In aid of developing this impact and needs assessment for Pakistan, we should opt for an off the shelf information technological analytical tool system that assists in the information gaps for COVID-19:

a) ability to react in real time to media (both informed and disinformed and its ratio) based on a knowledge about the public understanding (and source of formation of the public understanding) of the disease and associated pandemic;

b) general public’s preparedness for any potential longer-term societal disruptions;

c) knowing how public perceive available health care and access the same;

d) how is work being delivered from home and how is workforce being disrupted by the same;

e) how are small and medium enterprises being disrupted;

f) disruptions in the transports and logistics and essential services.

This tool can then also be utilized to do real-time monitoring as follows.

  • Monitoring for compliance with stay-at-home and quarantine measures.
  • Monitoring to identify population flows to hospitals and pharmacies.
  • Monitoring of hospital infrastructure to understand staff readiness and hospitalization rates.
  • Forecasting of hotspots within urban zones as identifying latent areas for further monitoring due to population out-migration.
  • Developing of assistance (rations and cash) tracking system to integrate COVID-19 countrywide efforts.
  • Integrate monitoring and forecasting insights with assistance tracking system to facilitate actionable and agile decision-making.
  • To assist in COVID-19 related CINA.

All this can be achieved by combining real-time data from social media, newspapers, and other digital public opinion streams with traditional survey data, by algorithms and geospatial analysis. One can integrate insights from social media analytics, Internet of Things data, financial transactions, and Human Movement data to assess both national and hyper-local social disruption associated with COVID-19.

In summary, there is a dire need for setting up effective monitoring of quarantine compliance and local healthcare capacity coupled with actionable reporting and forecasting of disease hot-spots. The daily monitoring snapshots and forecasting outputs can be seamlessly integrated into an assistance monitoring system to support decision making.

Published by #empowerpakistanbyazd

Amer Zafar Durrani is the President of Reenergia and Paidartwanai. He is an acknowledged development expert and entrepreneur with thirty five years of global experience spanning more than twenty four countries—of which almost 18 years were spent with the World Bank Group. His present work keeps him engaged in Pakistan, China, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya, Philippines, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan amongst others. He is now based in Pakistan and developing Reenergia as first of its’ kind ‘do-tank’—innovating and delivering solutions for improving lives while making a profit. In parallel, he has set up Paidartwanai Private Limited, an energy supply and consulting company with a mission to develop sustainable provision and consumption of energy through increasingly distributed and renewable energy systems. Amer is also a Senior Fellow at Pakistan Institute of Development Economists. He is also the Industry Co-Chair on the Energy Corporate Advisory Council in National University of Sciences and Technology, and a partner to NJHR, Geopolicity and RIZ Consulting. He continues supporting, through Reenergia, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), International Trade Center (ITC), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank Group, and the United Nations Office for Project Services, amongst many global organizations. In his personal capacity, he has been lecturing at the National Defense College and University (Islamabad), National School of Public Policy and University of Birmingham. He frequently appears as invited special guest in Media (TV and Radio) on issues relating to public policy and is a regularly speaker on various other international and local forums. Amer speaks Urdu, English, Punjabi, and can has working knowledge of Arabic, Russian and Dari-Persian. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, USA and has trained at the National Defense University, Pakistan and Lahore University of Management Sciences. He can be reached at and

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