|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.)|
Funded by the World Health Organisation, the CISFAM project is an initiative to address the observed deficiency of appropriate multi-sectoral information for rapid decision making, planning and allocation of relief during the African crisis in the recent past. CISFAM is a tool for programme planning, covering defined geographic region for relief, rehabilitation and health development and is a measure to improve data use in disaster preparedness programmes. The project expects to address ultimately famine prevention rather than exclusively famine response programmes.
Phase I of this project is conceived as an experimental effort and explores the viability of developing a standardized database on selected sectors drawing exclusively on existing sources at specialised U.N. agencies and other official organizations. The countries covered in the pilot phase are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, for national and district-levels data gathering and Burkina-Faso, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia for national level only. In addition to health and nutrition, five sectors or subject areas were selected as being of direct relevance to famine control or preventive action. These are demographic, agriculture, logistics and infrastructure, socio-economic, environment and meteorology.
The database should:
(i) be an information source to all implementing agencies in countries;
(ii) service the needs of governments, which frequently are unable to use existing information due to financial, manpower and technical constraints;
(iii) serve the interests of research institutes and professional associations for operational and other food crises management research.
The report concludes that:
(i) despite the general consensus on the discouraging state of statistics on sahelian Africa, adequate data and information do exist for minimal planning needs;
(ii) existing data is scattered amongst agencies in formats specialised to the discipline;
(iii) non-governmental agencies collect large quantities of reliable data which remain unprocessed.
(iv) given the financial, technical and political realities of the CISFAM countries, a basic and cheap information system needs to be developed for application at national levels.
Depending on available funding, CISFAM plans to address in Phase II:
(i) Development of a low-cost, data management kit for national use at relief and rehabilitation units. This will consist of a model data base skeleton; initial data files; software; short training program.
(ii) Establishment of a CISFAM focal centre at WHO with support from WHO Divisions of Health Statistics (HST) and Information Systems (ISS); and WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)
(iii) Development of map-linked databases and image processing capabilities with the collaboration of United Nations Environmental Programme I Global Resource Information Database (UNEP/GRID) Project for rapid and planned response in future crises situations in Africa.