Sarah Wehbe, Sasha A. Fahme, Anthony Rizk, Ghina R. Mumtaz, Jocelyn DeJong, Abla M. Sibai
In contrast to other regions, most Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region do not publicly report comprehensive and disaggregated epidemiological data on COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies long-standing underinvestment and undervaluation of routine sources of data, a paucity of available disaggregated data and challenges to data sharing across several countries of the MENA region, notably those that are long stricken by conflicts and displacement.
The COVID-19 pandemic should serve as an impetus for more comprehensive, robust, disaggregated and publicly available evidence, and this can be addressed through prioritised governmental expenditure and use of available digital technologies.
Comprehensive and reliable data are essential in understanding the implications of the health crises, generating meaningful epidemiological research and developing prompt and contextualised responses.