The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has rolled out two web-based surveillance and monitoring systems to aid cities and municipalities in MIMAROPA in making decisions that take scientific methods data-driven actions into account to cope with the COVID-19 impacts.
Under the project the “Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance Using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler for Early Detection of Diseases or FASSSTER”, DOST-MIMAROPA said they are applications used to create predictive models and forecast the number of COVID-19 infections, including confirmed positive cases, deaths, and recoveries in an area over a certain period.
The agency said in a statement sent Thursday to Palawan News that “the applications aim to help local government units (LGUs) assess possible scenarios of the pandemic at a national, regional, and local level and make informed decisions about preventive measures that can be applied in their respective jurisdiction”.
TanodCOVID, an adjunct of FASSSTER, is a short message service (SMS)-based platform that provides households a means to determine potential COVID-19 cases by privately reporting symptoms of family members to LGUs or barangay health units.
TanodCOVID helps LGUs obtain vital information that can be used for contact tracing purposes and in identifying the extent of cases and incidents in an area.
To encourage adoption of the technology, a resolution entitled “Resolution Endorsing the Adoption of the FASSSTER and TanodCOVID Application of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) by MIMAROPA LGUs and other relevant Planning Units/Entities” was approved last May by the MIMAROPA Regional Task Force for COVID-19.
As of July 2020, a total of 64 frontliners from 39 LGUs were trained in epidemiological surveillance of COVID-19 using the said applications. Since April, a total of seven training activities, online and on-site were conducted, which included various demonstrations by trainers from DOST-MIMAROPA who also underwent training to assist LGUs in the use of FASSSTER and TANODCovid.
With the proliferation of data on COVID-19 being created daily through the applications, it has become imperative to take intelligent steps to be able to properly interpret and manage them to help LGUs utilize the information and deliver appropriate responses. In order to do so, member institutions of the MIMAROPA Health Research and Development Consortium (MHRDC) stepped up and volunteered to become data interpreters for their respective municipalities and provinces.
Twenty-nine (29) researchers and experts from four different MIMAROPA SUCs – Occidental Mindoro State College, Marinduque State College, Romblon State University and Palawan State University underwent a Training of Trainers lead by the FASSSTER Dev Team.
“When I learned about the FASSSTER program of DOST, I volunteered right away with two purposes in mind. My first purpose is to learn from experts in the field of Medicine and Statistics who developed the program. The second one is to give back to the community as my share in the battle against Covid-19. From what I initially learned about the training for FASSSTER program, its primary objective is to help the government in its fight against Covid-19 through science-based approaches. said Dr. Julieta Nabos a volunteer data interpreter and Dean of School of Technology in MSC was quoted in saying in the statement.
The training of trainers has provided the volunteers with an overview of the applications through various demonstrations of its important features and functions such as the Time Series Projection that allows users to create a simulation of possible COVID-19 scenarios.
To date, eight (8) LGUs have adopted FASSSTER while there are already 11 LGUs in MIMAROPA that use TANODCovid. The systems were developed by DOST through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) in collaboration with the Department of Health, UP National Telehealth Center (UP NTC), and the Ateneo de Manila University.