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This was apparent during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa – the underlying technical, institutional, and human systems and processes required to gather, analyze, and use data were not robust enough to support a timely response. There was an unclear and asynchronous picture of the disease’s spread, and a “fog of information” generated by more than 50 digital data systems in the affected countries.

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USAID and its implementing partners have learned a lot since then. We must look for ways that technology can amplify local efforts, not usurp them. Critically, we now aim to ensure that:

  • Country governments are in the driver’s seat from the beginning.
  • We all advance locally led and whole-of-government approach and coordinate related initiatives.
  • We establish data protocols, reuse existing digital tools, and work with the private sector.