UP experts flag discrepancy in gov't COVID-19 data


Posted at May 13 2020 11:34 AM

UP experts flag discrepancy in gov't COVID-19 data 1
UP Resilience Institute Facebook page

MANILA - The University of the Philippines' Resilience Institute on Wednesday called on government for more open data as it flagged discrepancies in the health department's information on COVID-19.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the group said there was "continuing mismatch" between the Department of Health (DOH) and local governments' numbers of COVID-19 patients and "alarming errors" in patient data.


It also noted inconsistencies in the use of Philippine Standard Geographic Code for cases and date formats.

"These lapses may seem small relative to the total size of data contained in the daily updates, but they have significant implications on the reliability of our scientific analyses on COVID-19. Patient case data is the keystone for effective and insightful metrics and analysis," it said.

"The integrity of the data drops is particularly important given that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself has said many times that the government’s decision on managing COVID-19 will be based on science. We fully support President Duterte on this call for science-based decisions, hence this statement."

The group cited a policy note released on May 8, which compared DOH data on April 24 and 25 where it found the following discrepancies:

  • One patient who reportedly died on April 24 is no longer dead the following day
  • 45 COVID-19 cases changed changed sex from male to
  • female or vice-versa
  • 516 cases where the residence data was reclassified to another city
  • 75 patients had the data on age modified
  • 18 cases no longer have data on residence in the April 25 update
  • The recovery dates of 2 cases were either missing or changed

Peter Caytaon, member of UP COVID-19 Response Team, said the discrepancy between DOH and local governments' data may be due to a delay in the verification process of the former.

The group earlier launched a real-time dashboard of virus cases in the country, where local governments may input their COVID-19 data.

"Itong inaccuracies ng DOH kailangan nilang i-address at 'yung UP naman lagi naman kaming handang tumulong sa DOH in terms of data handling. Para in that aspect mas nagiging insightful yung mga decision na nagagawa," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

"Pinapakiusap namin sa DOH ang idea of more open data, more open science.... Once you have open data, nakikita natin yung pinakapinong detalye. Mas maa-unlock natin kung ano talaga ang tunay na nangyayari sa ating bayan."

The group lauded the DOH's openness to feedback and called on other agencies and private institutions to share relevant data on the disease.

"We believe there are private corporations who possess data that can benefit all researchers cooperating in this fight," it said.

ABS-CBN News tried to get the side of DOH, but the agency's officials have yet to respond to requests for comment.