Operational response simulation tool for epidemics within refugee and IDP settlements

Type Journal Article - medRxiv
Title Operational response simulation tool for epidemics within refugee and IDP settlements
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
Page numbers 2021.01.27.21250611
URL http://medrxiv.org/content/early/2021/01/29/2021.01.27.21250611.abstract
The spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 presents many challenges to healthcare systems and infrastructures across the world, exacerbating inequalities and leaving the world's most vulnerable populations most affected. Given their density and available infrastructure, refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) settlements can be particularly susceptible to disease spread. Non-pharmaceutical public health interventions can be used to mitigate transmission, and modeling efforts can provide crucial insights on the potential effectiveness of such interventions to help inform decision making processes. In this paper we present an agent-based modeling approach to simulating the spread of disease in refugee and IDP settlements. The model, based on the JUNE open-source framework, is informed by data on geography, demographics, comorbidities, physical infrastructure and other parameters obtained from real-world observations and previous literature. Furthermore, we present a visual analytics tool which allows decision makers to distill insights by comparing the results of different simulations and scenarios. Through simulating their effects on the epidemiological development of COVID-19, we evaluate several public health interventions ranging from increasing mask wearing compliance to the reopening of learning institutions. The development and testing of this approach focuses on the Cox's Bazar refugee settlement in Bangladesh, although our model is designed to be generalizable to other informal settings.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Funding StatementUnited Nations Global Pulse work is supported by the Government of Sweden, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. JB, CCL, AQB and AS are also supported by the UKRI-STFC grant number ST/P006744/1. This work used the DiRAC@Durham facility managed by the Institute for Computational Cosmology on behalf of the STFC DiRAC HPC Facility (www.dirac.ac.uk). The equipment was funded by BEIS capital funding via STFC capital grants ST/K00042X/1, ST/P002293/1, ST/R002371/1 and ST/S002502/1, Durham University and STFC operations grant ST/R000832/1. DiRAC is part of the UK's National e-Infrastructure.Author DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.YesThe details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:This research has been designed and conducted following relevant data privacy and data protection principles and processes, including UNHCR data protection policies and guidelines, as well as the UN principles on Personal Data Protection and Privacy, and the UNSDG Guidance Note on Big Data for the 2030 Agenda: Ethics, Privacy and Data Protection. Data used for building the digital twin come from statistical data, other open datasets and anonymous and aggregated survey data used collected by UN agencies as cited throughout this document.All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).YesI have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesIn the interest of openness and transparency, the simulation code has been released under a GPL v3 license. Given the sensitivity of this situation, more information about the datasets used and how to access them is available upon request. https://github.com/UNGlobalPulse/UNGP-settlement-modelling

Related studies