Volunteers build crowdsourced databases to capture scale of virus outbreak in Indonesia

Indonesia has recorded 6,760 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of April 20, 2020.
Indonesia has recorded 6,760 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of April 20, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Covid-19 outbreak has prompted members of the public to launch their own crowdsourced databases on the spread of the virus in their respective communities in a bid to shed some light on cases that have otherwise slipped under the government's radar.

One such database, LaporCovid-19, allows people to submit reports regarding the latest coronavirus-related updates in their immediate vicinity. Users provide information by responding to a digital questionnaire via the platform's official WhatsApp or Telegram group.

Information collected through the social media channels is then compiled into a visual database that illustrates the scale of the contagion in a certain region, which can be accessed at laporcovid19.org.

Ms Irma Hidayana, one of the public volunteers who initiated LaporCovid-19, said the platform was designed to give people the opportunity to pass along information regarding the latest situation in their neighbourhood, which might have gone unnoticed by the government.

"For example, people may provide information regarding themselves, their family members, or neighbours who died after exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms," she said in a statement.

She said that all information provided by the public would remain confidential. However, the platform would have access to the information to cross-reference data and eliminate errors, she added.

Mr Rajawali, another volunteer who contributed to LaporCovid-19, said he hoped the platform would be able to predict new clusters of the outbreak and save lives.

"We're racing against the virus," he said. "Data is a very important asset."

As of April 16, LaporCovid-19 had received 2,185 reports from WhatsApp and Telegram.

Meanwhile, medical practitioners affiliated with the Indonesian Healthtech Association have launched stopcov.id - a digital platform that seeks to provide up-to-date data on medical diagnoses and the number of health supplies amid the surge in Covid-19 patients, among other things.

According to stopcov.id founder Gregorius Bimantoro, the platform sourced its information from field reports submitted by health workers, hospital managers and medical equipment providers through a number of online health apps.


He added that the platform also verified and analysed the data it had collected to eliminate any discrepancies.

"We aim to facilitate health workers, policy makers and the general public in their fight against Covid-19. We compile various data on a single platform, stopcovid.id, so those who seek the most accurate information can quickly obtain it," Mr Gregorius said.

He said the platform also provided supplies of protective equipment and other medical equipment to designated Covid-19 referral centres across the country. Furthermore, the platform also cross-referenced Covid-19 patient data from a number of hospitals and clinics to capture the magnitude of the current health crisis, he added.

The government was previously criticised for its apparent refusal to provide the latest and most accurate information regarding the outbreak, giving rise to community movements such as KawalCovid-19.

Earlier this month, President Joko Widodo made an about-turn and called for greater transparency regarding the ongoing mitigation efforts.

The government has also recently developed its own Covid-19 application, called PeduliLindungi, but there have been reports about difficulties accessing the app.

According to the official government count, Indonesia has recorded 6,760 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 590 deaths as of Monday.