The Department of Health (DOH) has acknowledged errors found by the University of the Philippines (UP) Covid-19 Pandemic Response Team on its public data of coronavirus cases, but assured the public it won’t affect the government’s decision-making.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the issues raised “are a nominal percentage of the whole data sets and does not prejudice the overall interpretation of the data and decision-making.”

“Data (are) continuously rectified the moment we identify any issue,” she added.

In a Facebook post, the UP team identified issues such as “continuing mismatch between DOH and LGU (local government unit) numbers, alarming errors in patient-level data, inconsistencies in the coding of the Official Philippine Standard Geographic Code for cases within regions, and inconsistencies in the use of data formats in the DOH data drop.”

It called for “making all data sources open … (to) empower stakeholders in our collective fight against Covid-19” adding that “data issues must be resolved as soon as possible to secure public trust in the plans, decisions, and pronouncements of the government and its private partners.”

Stephanie Sy, chief executive officer of Thinking Machines Data Science, the DOH data science consultant,  discussed the process of data gathering and daily reporting in a press conference on Tuesday.

Sy said “less than one percent of the records every day are changing” and this referred to data inconsistencies not only found by UP but also by private citizens and her team.

She said: “99% reliable and consistent data sets is a useful data set for the policies and decisions that we have been making.” (Jojo Mangahis)