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iSocial and UPC have started a study to predict the impact that COVID19 will have on the Social Services of the municipalities

La Federació d’Alzheimer i la Fundació Maresme, primeres entitats sòcies-col·laboradores

This week the iSocial Foundation and the Intelligence Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Researh Center of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have started the prospective study INESS-COVID19 (Identification of Emerging Social Needs as consequence of the COVID19 and effect on the Social Services of the territory), to know the vulnerabilities of the Catalan population in the next months and to contribute elements of decision that allow the 104 Basic Areas of Social Services of Catalonia to face it.

Indeed, the consequences of the crisis caused by COVID19 have been devastating from a health point of view, but all indications are that they will also be devastating from an economic and social welfare point of view. COVID19 has generated a situation never seen before and it is more than likely that new social needs will emerge, which are urgently needed to be adequately addressed. INSESS-COVID19 will use an innovative approach based on mechanisms for the rapid collection of data from participatory processes that will involve experts in Social Services and also citizens; a mixed methodology that combines data science techniques, knowledge management and artificial intelligence, and that will provide elements of support for the development of policies on Social Services in Catalonia.

Unlike much of the research currently being done in the field of COVID-19, which focuses on infection prediction, survival, disease spread, or diagnosis, INSESS-COVID19 focuses on Social Services, largely forgotten about the equation in pandemic management. In the field of Social Services, the worst is probably yet to come. After the overflow of the health system, will come the economic consequences, and an avalanche of social needs that will require the attention of Social Services over the coming months and perhaps years, and may in the immediate future overflow and collapse the Social Services system of the City Councils and the County Councils in Catalonia. That is why the aim of the study is to shed light on how the local Social Services should begin to prepare for this new scenario.

The INESS-COVID19 study has the collaboration and participation of the Catalan Government, the Catalan Association of Municipalities, the Federation of Municipalities of Catalonia and the Barcelona Regional Government, and has been funded by the Center for Development Cooperation of UPC in the framework of the extraordinary call that opened in April on the occasion of the emergency generated by the crisis of COVID19.

The study is led by Dra. Karina Gibert, professor at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-UPC, and Toni Codina, CEO of the iSocial Foundation, who will lead a multidisciplinary research team made up of experts in social services, knowledge engineers and data scientists. The study also has an advisory committee made up of academics and experts Manuel Aguilar, Carles Alsinet, Maria Assumpció Gonzàlez, Albert Isern, Josep Maria Pascual, Josep Maria Picas and Pilar Rodríguez. The first results of the study are expected to be presented in early September.

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