Digital technology for risk management in Uruguay

MIRA and its application during the pandemic

30 de Mayo de 2022

Photo: MIRA Health/Covid-19 Pandemic Module. Visualisation of the registration and follow-up of Covid-19 positive cases

In an emergency, information is key to making decisions and providing a rapid and adequate response that minimizes the impact. Having information makes it possible to generate early warnings and assess damage and recovery needs. It also facilitates coordination, conditions the mobilization of national and international resources and makes it possible to identify lessons learned.

In Uruguay, until very recently, risk management information was scattered in several closed information systems of different institutions, and communication between affected people and the National Emergency System (SINAE) lacked the speed and effectiveness required. For this reason, with the support of the UNDP Innovation Centre, we developed the Monitor Integral de Riesgos y Afectaciones (MIRA), an innovative digital technology platform that was launched in 2019 with the objective of integrating and centralizing information from different sources, generating analysis considering multiple perspectives and responding to the needs among the territory.

The SINAE has defined MIRA as its central information system, given that during an emergency the platform allows more appropriate use of information, and improves response times and efficiency. It also generates statistics and quality indicators with standard and homogeneous criteria. MIRA is a geo-referenced platform that allows information to be sent and received via cellular telephony within the affected area. In this way, alerts and recommendations on how to act can be sent, and at the same time, the affected area can be informed in real-time of the effects and needs generated in the affected area. 

In 2020, new specific modules were developed in MIRA to address the health emergency generated by COVID 19, with funding from the UNDP Rapid Response Fund, which sought to accelerate recovery from the effects of the pandemic. The new functionalities made it possible to generate information on the evolution of the pandemic, assess the socio-economic context, manage the purchase of medical equipment, and survey infrastructure and human resources in the health sector.

Through MIRA, the Uruguayan government managed relevant information, generated informative reports that reached the entire population on a daily basis, and technical reports for decision-making by key institutions such as SINAE, the Ministry of Public Health and the Presidency.  The platform was key to keeping the population well informed and reducing misinformation from unreliable sources. Through visualizers, it was shared publicly from the official SINAE web:

  • the number of tests processed,
  • the cumulative number of tests performed,
  • the number of confirmed positive cases,
  • patients recovered, in intensive and intermediate care,
  • the number of health workers infected with the virus,
  • and the distribution of the disease in the territory.

At the same time, key visualizers for decision-making and policy definition were generated with data about:

  • The location of all public and private health centres in the country, identifying those with Intensive Care Units (ICU), whether for adults, children or newborns.
  • The resources of each ICU (beds, ventilators, health personnel, etc.) and the episodes of saturation of these resources in real-time.
  • People arriving in the country by air.
  • The location of sites with a higher concentration of people and therefore greater vulnerability (residential homes, shelters, communal kitchens, irregular settlements, educational centres and prisons).
  • The mobility of the population.

Due to its modular structure and UNDP's support for the rapid incorporation of health and epidemiological functionalities, in the period 2020-2022, MIRA became a fundamental tool for the successful management of the Pandemic at the national level.

MIRA quickly became the main platform for integrated risk management in Uruguay. Beyond the pandemic, MIRA will be very useful for the management of future emergencies and for the fulfilment of international commitments such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, especially in terms of significantly reducing the number of people affected globally by 2030.

Next Steps

Currently, together with SINAE, UNDP continues to support the consolidation of MIRA, developing new functionalities aimed at working with the private sector to assess the impact of businesses in the face of emergencies.

Going forward, the challenge for UNDP will be to find ways to scale up this tool and adapt it for use in other realities where risk management information remains dispersed and difficulties in emergency response persist.