The Favelas Contra o Coronavírus (Favelas Against Coronavirus) simulator contributes to the debate on the implementation of initiatives to combat Covid-19 in the most vulnerable sections of the population
Following the joint efforts of the entire Insper Community to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we are publishing a series of interviews with professors, managers, deans, and directors to address actions taken by our school, as well as tips and guidelines in the most diverse fields to help overcome the challenges of this period.
In the interview that follows, Vinícius Picanço, professor at Insper, and Igor Oliveira, consultant to international organizations, explain how the simulator works Favelas Contra o Coronavírus (Favelas against Corona Virus, in free translation):
1) The Favelas Contra o Coronavírus simulator consists of what?
The simulator is a tool that allows for estimating the potential effect of different policies for responding to coping with coronavirus in the Brazilian favelas (slums). The current simulator considers data from Rio de Janeiro, where the percentage of the population living in regions of urban overcrowding is higher than the Brazilian average.
2) How did the idea of carrying out this initiative come about?
It had been a voluntary initiative of a group of Brazilian researchers and consultants in the field of Systems Dynamics, who saw an opportunity to create something that could contribute to the debate on the implementation of initiatives to combat COVID-19 in the most vulnerable sections of the population and, in particular, in the favelas. Upon contacting the group that had been structured in Rio de Janeiro, called “Favelas Contra o Coronavírus,” the needs of this population and the contexts they were facing were surveyed. Based on this, we use the tradition of the field of Systems Dynamics to produce epidemiological and public policy models to adapt to the Brazilian reality and, in particular, of that population.
3) What measures that can reduce the impact of the new coronavirus on the favelas are studied in this initiative?
There are seven measures surveyed from the favelas and included in the simulator: 1) temporary removal of favela residents to public spaces; 2) temporary removal of favela residents to hotels; 3) subsidy for hygiene supplies; 4) basic income for the purchase of hygiene products; 5) emergency sanitation structures; 6) expansion of ICU availability (beds per day) and 7) use of protective masks. The latter has one of the greatest effects in isolation (and is enhanced in combination with other measures).
4) What are the main conclusions drawn from the analysis of these data?
Considering the most pessimistic scenarios of disease spread and evolution, the greatest potential impact on the number of lives saved presupposes a combination of policies and actions that would remove 5,000 km2 from favelas, develop emergency sanitation structures in all favelas in Rio de Janeiro, as well as provide hygiene products to 50% of households and build/provide around 20 ICUs/day.
5) In your view, can social entrepreneurship help minimize the effects of coronavirus in the favelas?
It is time for social entrepreneurs to turn their attention to the most neglected and vulnerable layers of society, and absurdly quickly. The techniques, methods, and models of social entrepreneurship must be applied on an emergency basis to ensure swift responses to the populations that need them most. From the rapid development of new accessible products and services to the articulation of philanthropic campaigns for the donation and delivery of hygiene products and food, as well as the development of hospital capacity and removal of vulnerable people, all are activities that are absolutely possible to develop promptly. Each of the measures explored in the simulator is a golden opportunity for social entrepreneurs to act, and fast!
Vinícius Picanço Rodrigues holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). He is an Assistant Professor at Insper, working in the fields of Sustainability and Operations in Undergraduate, Graduate (both lato and stricto sensu), and Executive Education programs. Currently, he also serves as a Research Affiliate at DTU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and as a Member of The Board at the Brazilian branch of The Good Food Institute (GFI).