Options Magazine, Summer 2023: Researchers developed a framework using multi-criteria decision analysis to aid Botswana in formulating a COVID-19 strategy, considering stakeholder opinions and risk assessments.
When COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2020, no country was prepared. However, Botswana took swift and decisive action in the early days of the pandemic by creating a national COVID-19 strategy and policy, which helped it mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
In a recent study, Nadejda Komendantova and her coauthors developed a methodological framework for policy formation in situations with high uncertainty and heterogeneity of opinions among involved stakeholders. They then applied this framework to Botswana’s management of the pandemic, which informed the national COVID-19 strategy.
The framework considers a combination of various epidemiological risk assessments and evaluation of socioeconomic costs of risk management measures. It also utilizes a multi-criteria decision analysis support model to weigh various policy options.
The authors describe how Botswana’s formulation of a national strategy and policy was aided by ICT decision support models. Their results show that this framework can be further developed to optimize hazard management options for COVID-19 and other pandemic scenarios.
“Risk governance of the COVID-19 pandemic was a contested policy issue when heterogeneity of opinion among stakeholders about possible risk mitigation strategies and their costs existed,” explains Komendantova, who leads the Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group in the IIASA Advancing Systems Analysis Program. “The methodological framework we developed (based on multi-criteria decision analysis) allows for accounting of this heterogeneity of voices, but also for developing policy solutions that benefit from the integration of various positions and different stakeholders' views.”
By Jeremy Summers
Ekenberg, L., Fasth, T., Koulolias, V., Larsson, A., Larsson, A., Danielson, M., Komendantova, N. , & Mihai, A. (2022). A Framework for COVID-19 Pandemic Intervention Modelling and Analysis for Policy Formation Support in Botswana. The International Journal on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions 15 (3)