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close this bookC.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.)
close this folderCHAPTER 2: CISFAM: An Experimental Information System
close this folder2.3 Overview of the Databases Examined
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentLimitations and Caveats in the Data

(introduction...)

Several data bases were examined including both electronically maintained and data on cards, reports and other forms of hard copy. Certain CISFAM countries had better data reporting than others and the variability was significant

Statistical services of certain countries had been out of operation for several years and therefore the only viable data sources were non-governmental organizations and sample surveys and studies. Data quality also, varied widely from sector to sector.

Meteorological, ecological and climate data bases provided the best quality information in terms of reliability, coverage, accuracy and time series. The Climate System Monitoring database of the World Meteorological Organisation initiated as a response to the occurrence of significant climate anomalies over the last decades with associated adverse socio-economic effects provided potentially useful information. It carried synthesized information on climate anomalies, rainfall variability and vegetation data by small geographic areas. It has available time series data for the past 110 years on African rainfall. The data, however, is fairly technical and is not divided into the political and administrative boundaries of the countries. Similarly, the soils and temperature databases of Africa held by United Nations Environmental Programme are also very robust and reliable.

Several databases from the six different sectors were explored. A summary of the electronically registered data-sets are presented below:

Table 1:
Summary of International Computerized Database Relevant to CISFAM

SYSTEM NAME

AVAILABILITY

SUBJECT COVERAGE

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE

GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM (GIEWS)

Agency staff; other U.N. agency staff; External users

Food supply agricultural production, food aid; pest control; meteorology; commodity markets; and prices.

Worldwide

INTERLINKED COMPUTERIZED STORAGE AND PROCESSING SYSTEM OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY DATA

Agency staff; Other U.N. agency staff; External users

Food statistics; agricultural statistics; crops; agricultural production; imports/exports; land use; agricultural workers and machinery; fertilizers; forestry and fishery statistics.

Worldwide; Regional; National; Sub-national

DATA PROCESSING AND COMMUNICATIONS UNIT

Agency staff; Other U.N. agency staff; External users

Consultants; disasters; devastation; regional analyses damages compensation emergency relief; supply management; disaster prevention.

Worldwide

DISASTER HISTORY PROFILE DATA EASE (HISTORY)

Agency Staff, Other U.N. agency staff; External users

Disasters; natural disasters; disaster prevention

COMMODITY MARKET PRICES SERVICE

Agency staff; Other U.N. agency staff; External users

Prices, commodity prices and markets.

Worldwide

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS AND PROJECTIONS DATA BASE

Agency staff; Other U.N. Agency staff; External users

Economic indicators; social indicators.

Worldwide; Regional; National

EPIDEMIOLOGICAL INFORMATION INDEX

Agency staff: Other U.N. agency staff; External users

Infectious diseases; transmission epidemiology

GLOBAL EPIDEMIOLOGICAL SURVEILLANCE AND HEALTH SITUATION ASSESSMENT

Agency staff; Other U.N. agency staff; External users

Mortality; causes of death; infectious diseases; health personnel; hospitals demographic and health statistics Morbidity

Worldwide; Regional; National

HEALTH LEGISLATION

Agency staff; Other U.N. agency staff; External users

Health; legislation; environmental legislation; aging; human nutrition; food standards; pharmaceuticals; poisons occupational hygiene; health statistics

Worldwide; Regional; National; Sub-national

WORLD CLIMATE DATA INFORMATION REFERRAL SERVICE (INFOCLIMA)

Agency staff; Other U.N. agency staff; External users with restrictions

Climate; meteorology; geophysics; climatology

Worldwide

The health sector information on the other hand, was disappointing in both coverage, quality and continuity. The physical resources, such as hospitals, dispensaries, health centres and skilled personnel enumerated in the source agencies, were the only items with regular reporting. However, a major caveat in these items are that frequently hospitals and health centres are, in fact, inoperative and therefore, the value of these numbers are questionable for certain objectives. For crisis management and long-term planning, however, the knowledge of their existence can be useful. Several sample surveys on nutritional status and incidence of nutritional deficiency diseases are available but no officially reported figures on on-going basis. Continuous data collection in this field is undertaken only by large non-governmental organisations, who, generally execute this function as an incidental by-product of their principal activities. Country statistical annuaires and card files were used for data on four of the CISFAM countries at provincial levels. Table 2 presents a summary of the CISFAM database contents listing gross categories of variables by sectors.

Table 2:
CISFAM Database Contents: Sectors files, Items Categories and Sources

CLASS

CONTENTS

FORM

SOURCE

COMMENTS

Health

Basic Health Indicators
WHO HFA Indicators
Primary causes of morbidity
Health service coverage
Health establishments and personnel
Cholera, yellow fever: incidence and deaths

Numeric

Weekly Epidemiological records/WHO HFA Indicator Data Set U.N. Population Division Global Epidemiological Surveillance/WHO Country Annual Reports

Available on sub-national levels for Senegal, Mali, Niger, Mauritania

Food Agriculture

Food supply, cereal availability; cash/food crop production; livestock products prices; food intake, irrigation; means of production; land use; food aid; agricultural population

Numeric

Agricultural production database; GIEWS/FAO Development Centre OECD

National; occasional sub-national; large survey data available

Ecology

Soil status; animal pressure; population pressure; desertification hazard index; vegetation cover

Geographic

Global Environmental Monitoring System

Sub-national; by small geographic areas with no administrative boundaries

Demography

Population estimates projections; mortality, fertility and other vital statistics

Numeric

U.N. population division; World bank; World Fertility Survey International Statistical Institute

National level large survey data

Climate and meteorology

Precipitation; geographical co-ordinates; temperatures; windspeed, growing season

Numeric; raster

Climate monitoring system/WMO

Georeferenced data

Social and economic

Macro-economic indicators; education and social indicators food import/exports

Numeric

OECD; World Bank Country annual reports

Maps

Desertification index; population and animal pressure

1:5,000,000

UNEP/GRID

All countries

Administrative and communications

1:500,000 digitized

Institut Graphique National, Paris.

Only Senegal, Mali, Niger

Administrative and geographic

1:1,000,000

All countries