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Under the current COVID-19 situation and following the directives set by the government of Colombia, the National Statistical Office (DANE) has sought to adopt strategies that ensure the adequate performance of the institution. These strategies have been agreed under the framework of an internal Ad-hoc Emergency Committee that has allowed DANE to quickly adapt to the evolving situation. The adopted measures have been guided by the principle of ensuring the well-being of our staff (with more than 95 percent of DANE’s work force currently telecommuting and all administrative processes having been adjusted to be done virtually), while maximizing statistical production.
Examples of these strategies include: continuity and reinforcement of monitoring of self-completion of web surveys: minimization of in-person collection operations; and the adoption of additional health security protocols according to the guidelines established by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. In addition, DANE has strengthened data collection mechanisms for specific statistical programmes (e.g., expanding the sample and identifying new sources of information for the production of price statistics), and introduced the use of telephone-based operations as substitute for face-to-face interviews. Data on the housing deficit and the National Population and Housing Census geospatial views application ("Geovisor") were also published ahead of time.
In addition to the aforementioned strategies that guarantee the regular statistical production and in accordance to the new information demands, DANE has launched the following initiatives in the context of the health emergency:
Daily monitoring of prices and supply in wholesale markets, with daily special additional publications.
Daily monitoring and weekly publication of the prices of 26 products identified as essential by the national government.
Releasing geospatial views at the block level of:
The release of a vulnerability index at the level of blocks in the Geovisor application stands out, since this was a result of an inter-institutional approach, that allowed to link information from the Institute for Health Technology Evaluation (IETS), the National Statistical Office (DANE) and the National Planning Department (DNP).
It is worth mentioning that DANE has released information to help national and local government entities identify target populations for the distribution of humanitarian aid and medical care, and to ensure that the national and local programs reach households that were not initially included in other social programs.
This article was contributed by the National Statistical Office of Colombia (DANE)