Karnataka top State in the quality of COVID-19 data reporting: Stanford study

Published : July 27, 2020 00:00 IST

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers collecting health and family data in Bengaluru on April 10. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

A recent study published by three researchers from Stanford University and two independent researchers stated that Karnataka topped in the quality of COVID-19 reporting data in India.

The study, titled ‘Disparity in the Quality of COVID-19 Reporting Across India’, was conducted and authored by Varun Vasudevan, Abeynaya Gnanasekaran, Varsha Sankar, Siddharth A. Vasudevan and James Zou.

The researchers assigned a COVID-19 Data Reporting Score (CDRS) to each State based on “…four key aspects of public health data reporting—availability, accessibility, granularity and privacy”.

Judging by these criteria, Karnataka topped the ranking, falling in the category of ‘good’ reporting of COVID-19 data, while Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were the worst performers. The researchers studied data provided by State governments between May 19 and June 1 to present their findings.

According to the CDRS score assigned by the researchers (between 0 and 1), the best data reporting was done by 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 and Nicobar Islands (0.17) were at the bottom of the list.

A significant finding was that “10 States provided a visual representation of the trend in COVID-19 data, while 10 States do not report any data stratified by age, gender, comorbidities or districts”.

The researchers said that Punjab and Chandigarh had compromised “…the privacy of individuals under quarantine by releasing their personally identifiable information on the official websites”.

According to the researchers, the “…disparity in CDRS across States highlights three important findings at the national, State, and individual levels. At the national level, it shows the lack of a unified framework for reporting COVID-19 data in India and highlights the need for a central agency to monitor or audit the quality of data reporting done by the States. Moreover, it reflects the inadequacy in coordination or sharing of resources among the States in India.”

They added: “Coordination among States is particularly important as more people start moving across States in the coming months. The disparate reporting score also reflects inequality in individual access to public health information and privacy protection based on the state of residence.”

The paper, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, is available here:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.19.20157248v1.full.pdf

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