Top Five Data Challenges in Global Health

Canada’s leadership in global health is one of our best-kept secrets. Data innovation for global health is just one of the areas where Canada has been quietly leading the way. Canadians and their partners use data from the field to design smarter, evidence-based programs. This enables global health work to reach as many people as possible, in the best way we know how.

This leadership has been put to the test throughout the first 100 days of the global COVID-19 pandemic. There has been significant diversity in how organizations have adapted in response to the crisis.

Here are the top five data challenges Canadians working in global health were facing before the COVID-19 pandemic:

#5 Limited interest and funding for research

Person with a mask and latex gloves holding a globe

#4 Resistance to publishing data

A person with surgical gloves on holding a tablet with data displayed

#3 Persistent knowledge gaps concerning vulnerable populations (particularly women and girls)

A medical professional wearing a face mask and washing their hands under a faucet

#2 Limited capacity to understand and interpret data

nurse charting while wearing PPE

#1 Inconsistent or limited health information

Many of the challenges faced before COVID-19 have been exacerbated, while others have changed radically. In addition to these challenges, it is hard to plan a response when the systemic infrastructure for delivering health services is weak. Organizations are facing supply chain and hoarding issues, alongside unreliable or unavailable health information systems. Now is the time to share and learn from each other while working to find innovative solutions to these problems.

The information presented in the blog is based on data available in CanWaCH’s report “100 Days of a Pandemic: Canada’s Evidence-Driven Global Response”. Over 100 Canadian organizations contributed to a survey and accompanying series of interviews between March and June 2020.



July 13, 2020