On 2nd September 2020, the Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN Africa) team held a robust high-level technical session with the team at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) to access the level of preparedness for intercontinental network access and querying of datasets between FAIR Data Points (FDPs) in Africa and Europe.
One of the significant milestones of the VODAN Africa Initiative is to create a distributed data discovery network of FDPs that allows algorithms to find COVID-19 data over the internet. This will enable medical experts, scientists, researchers, and policymakers to use a data-driven approach to fight the current pandemic, and equally engender transparency and prevent data manipulation after the pandemic.
The discussions centered on the comparison of problems, problem inventory between the two regions, and analyses of those problems; harmonization of patients and non-patients data, and how to increase the efficiency of getting patients data and entering it into the FDPs. Among the takeaways was the need for proper documentation that will focus on the system requirements for the seamless deployment of FDPs across various platforms.
In attendance from VODAN Africa was the implementation Chair, Dr. Mouhamad Mpezamihigo; the Global Coordinator, Prof. Mirjam Van Reisen; the Executive Coordinator, Prof. Francisca Oladipo; the Technical Coordinator, Mariam Basajja; and the country leads from Nigeria, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Ethiopia spoke about their unique experiences during the installation and deployment of FDPs in their respective countries. The data stewards from Africa were also in attendance.
The team from Europe comprised of Bert Meerman, Director at GO FAIR Foundation; Erik Flikkenschild, the Information Manager Research at LUMC; Erik Schultes, the International Science Coordinator at GO FAIR Foundation; Remon Holebeek, Rajaram Kaliyaperumal both from LUMC and Mascha Jansen from GO FAIR.