Public health authorities in developed countries encourage excessive testing as a strategy to break the chain of COVID-19 infections and identify high risk areas. This strategy, while suitable for developed countries is unfeasible in several developing countries, such as Pakistan. Using high frequency data collection as a tool to monitor the behavior of individuals and thereby the changing health outcomes can be an additional asset as a rapid response mechanism.
Consequently, in this study, we follow respondents over a period of 3 months, during which we plan to collect survey data remotely from 24000 respondents. Data on the health status of household members, their adherence to preventive measures and the level of knowledge of the respondent on the Coronavirus is collected via bi-weekly calls.
Making use of this approach, we will experimentally test how to best collect information and promote preventative behavior remotely. The core outcomes of interest, including changes in response patterns on COVID-19 symptoms and awareness, will be captured over time and compared against a control group.
Findings of the high frequency data collected will be regularly presented on The Rapid Data for Action dashboard to offer an enhanced understanding of the situation and to identify suspected cases and sub-populations in utmost need of support.
The intervention is designed and implemented in close cooperation with Acted Pakistan, and National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). The target population are beneficiaries of the two NGOs across three provinces of Pakistan.
As of early September 2020, contacts of NGO beneficiaries were collected in 1139 villages. 12,324 individuals within these villages were randomized to receive enumerator led follow up interviews (4,312), IVR calls (1,848) or a mix of the two (6,164). In further rounds, an additional 12000 will be added in the same ratio, to get a final sample of 24000 individuals, with 7200 receiving IVR calls, and 16800 enumerator follow-ups.