|C.I.S.F.A.M.: Consolidated Information System for Famine Management in Africa - Phase One Report (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters - World Health Organisation, 1987, 33 p.)|
CISFAM is conceived to function as:
(i) a network of different units, international and non-governmental organizations holding data on the African countries under the threat of famine.
(ii) an organisational framework/administrative framework for core data files;
(iii) a simulator of small-scale data base programmes at national level;
(iv) a data resource for organisations operating in food shortage countries;
At the current stage of the study, it was found that large databases on different sectors exist, however most are on national levels and sub-national information is almost non-existant.
It was also found that improved exploitation of existing databases is not only possible but indicated, given the amount of unused data regularly collected. Evidently, for a multisectorial database, centred on health this requires identification of data subsets in the non-health sectors. Furthermore, substantial quantities of time series and baseline information are recorded on hard copy such as archives and card-file. Finally, reporting format for the same country is frequently not standardized and definitions vary between the provincial reports and over time.
The principle conclusions of this study are as follows:
(i) despite the general consensus on the discouraging state of statistics on sahelian Africa, adequate data and information exist for minimal planning needs.
(ii) the existing data is scattered amongst agencies and is frequently in technically difficult formats, principally in climate and agriculture.
(iii) non-governmental agencies collect large quantities of reliable data which remain unprocessed and there is a critical lack of standardization within a single sector.
(iv) given the financial, technical and political realities of the CISFAM countries, a basic and cheap information system should be envisaged for application at national levels.