Largest and Most Comprehensive Sex disaggregated Covid 19 Database
in September 2020, the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW Asia)—in partnership with Global Health 50/50 and the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)—launched the world’s largest and most comprehensive sex-disaggregated COVID-19 database. Dr. Ravi Verma, Director of ICRW Asia and an advisor for the partnership, discusses what insights the data has to offer—and how it can help inform national and international responses to the pandemic.
Ravi: This partnership is a unique attempt to understand how COVID-19 is impacting people differently due to sex and gender—both in terms of biology as well as the social environment, structures and norms—and to produce the data needed for truly gender-responsive approaches to the pandemic.
Global Health 50/50’s international framework, combined with regional and country-specific perspectives from ICRW Asia and APHRC, allows us to create a more comprehensive body of evidence on the extent to which countries are gathering this data and making it public. The resulting database allows us to better advocate for more consistent and credible data, and to provide insights for countries to respond to the unique segments of their population.
Tracking over 170 countries across the world, the dashboard represents the first systematic data-gathering process to understand how men and women are being differentially impacted by COVID-19. Overall, while cases are evenly reported among both men and women, men account for 40 percent more COVID-19 deaths. Gendered differences exist along the clinical pathway, from testing through to intensive care admissions.
However, fewer than one in three of the world’s countries are reporting sex-disaggregated data for both COVID-19 cases and deaths; among the 173 countries currently tracked, 75 reported no data separately for women and men in the last month.
For the partnership, It’s critical to think about both short-term and long-term implications. In the short term, we hope the data generated by this project will help inform policymaking, and in the medium term, that it will also help program personnel create gender-responsive strategies in their countries to reach the most vulnerable.
In the long term, we hope to provide an evidence-based, gender-responsive public health model. In order to keep building toward a more comprehensive body of evidence, we are urging governments to make a commitment to collect data—by both sex and gender—and make that data available to the wider community of practice.
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