At the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa, Genesis Analytics developed a useful tool for looking at and understanding the impact of the epidemic on the healthcare system.
We did this to try to help policy makers weigh up increasing restrictions as opposed to keeping the economy open. The tool was launched in response to daily predictions and models during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It tried to predict how severe the COVID-19 epidemic would become in South Africa and also in the rest of the continent. These models are important planning tools, but they have limitations, especially when dealing with a new virus where there are many unknowns.
Genesis therefore developed an online, interactive PowerBI-based tool that is publicly available and enables the user to answer the following question, considering the epidemic in their setting as it is now:
Are our health services about to become overwhelmed?
This tool can be found here and predicts the user’s need for ICU or critical-care beds for the next two weeks, based on the number of cases in an area over the last two weeks, and the number of beds available. At a time when many routine surgeries are being cancelled because of fears of health systems being overwhelmed, this calculator can be a useful tool for understanding the likely short-term strain on health services.
This calculator is currently being used in another project at Genesis, which involves advising UNICEF and the Omani government about the reopening of early childhood development centres.