Dr. Grace Bediako, Board Chair of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), is declaring an end to data unavailability with the establishment of StatsBank and online information depository of the Service.
The StatsBank is a recent initiative of the GSS and is one of its user-centred data products with a mine of more than 300 million unique statistics from the 2021 Population and Housing Census alone.
The Board chair, addressing the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) edition of the academic launch of the data reserve, said the GSS now made complete, its service mandate.
“The dream of any statistical service is to have the data you produce utilised. There is a lot of data – I think what we failed to do was to make it available in the system.”
Dr. Bediako noted how the StatsBank initiative marked an end to aged concerns over unavailability of collected data.
“People always come up with complaints over the availability of data. Students request data and they never get it. Thankfully, this is changing because data production is now centred on getting the users to access the data and use the data.
“With the initiative, data availability will no longer be a problem,” she added, while giving the assurance that the GSS would help build capacities to “use the data and make it available in a user-friendly manner so policymakers can engage the data into the research that they do.”
She said with the completion of the data streams for the 2021 PHC, the goal now was to integrate other sources of data from the GSS, including countless surveys that would be made accessible to all.
Among resources at the StatsBank is a data census atlas, a rasterised data for small area indications, and microdata.
The Board Chair said the GSS was “assembling all data” from the various Ministries and institutions, while working on a data learning initiative towards the establishment of a data driven environment.
“This would help citizens engage in intelligent ways with various data on policy issues,” she assured, adding that the platform was readily available but would be constantly augmented.
In a unique demonstration among the academic community, five traditional Universities were selected to engage in a hackathon of ideas based off data from the StatsBank.
Six student teams from each University – University of Ghana, University of Development Studies, UHAS, the University of Cape Coast, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, are participating towards a national final.
Team Yellow won the UHAS edition with a project titled “Urbanisation, Population Density, and Water and Sanitation; Challenges to Sustainable Development in Ghana.”
The project analysed the relationship between population and sanitation, employment and population density, and also the relationship between population density and sanitation, and received a GH¢5,000 cash prize.
All participants in the hacking event were awarded certificates, and the second and third placing groups also got cash prizes while the University received some books from the GSS for its libraries.
Mrs Yaa Opuni Amankwa, Registrar of the University, congratulated students for taking up the challenge, and commended their mentors for the sacrifices.
She said the exercise had come at an opportune time and lauded the GSS for including UHAS in the innovative initiative.
The best three teams from the University would participate in the national competition.