DOST now has Covid-19 monitoring platform

Health, National, Science and Technology

The Department of Health (DOH) now has a new “Covid-19 Philippine LGU Monitoring Platform” called the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler (FASSSTER).

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has recently turned over the platform officially to the DOH. Ateneo de Manila University developed the FASSSTER app for visualizing the spread of diseases, using data from the Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (PIDSR) system, Electronic Medical Records, and SMS-based reports of primary care facilities.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, in a virtual presser,  said this web-based disease surveillance platform could predict the peak of confirmed cases, peak date, case doubling time, and other relevant data which will facilitate understanding of the spread of the Covid-19 infection.

It could also forecast health system capacity requirements, based on the projected peak and quantity of mild, severe, and critical cases at the municipal, provincial, and regional levels, he added.

With these, Dela Pena said FASSSTER could help determine the local government unit’s epidemic risk level and appropriate strategy for Covid-19 response, based on case doubling time and critical care utilization rate.

“This will visualize social, economic, and security risk rating and classification of all cities and municipalities,” he said, adding that FASSSTER also performs spatial analysis to determine the clustering of cases at the barangay level.

Health Undersecretary Lilibeth David said the team behind FASSSTER was able to guide the government with its decision plan. Initially, FASSSTER was developed to visualize possible scenarios of outbreaks of dengue, measles, and typhoid fever.

DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara told media the DOST funded the FASSSTER project with more than P4.8 million in 2016.

“It was an R&D (research and development) project. Then early this year, we asked them (ADMU researchers) to develop FASSSTER for Covid-19. It was finished last August 31. Since no more development is needed, it was turned over to the DOH,” Guevara said.

“It is now the DOH that will give instruction to the FASSSTER team on what they want on the website,” she added. The intellectual property for FASSSTER, however, will remain with ADMU.

The website is accessible to LGUs, but each LGU could only view its own record or data, according to Guevara. “Only DOH and allowed users can see all the LGU records,” she said.

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