Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pareto in reverse

The Pareto principle.

This is a common enough concept being used by problem-solving teams in our manufacturing plant. Simply put, the concept states that 80 percent of the problem is most likely caused by 20 percent of the validated causes. Consequently, managing the critical 20% would yield significantly desirable results. This is not to say that we must ignore the rest that fall outside the 80/20 rule, but the methodology tells a lot about the proportionate allocation of scarce resources towards producing significant results.
Having said that...

According to this report, the number of H1N1 cases in the Philippines stands at 21 confirmed cases, with some thirty-six people placed on home quarantine by the DOH. Health Secretary Duque has a point however, in saying that the public should actually dread the dengue virus more than the A(H1N1) virus. The dengue virus has actually claimed 57 lives in the Philippines for the first four months of 2009, while H1N1 which has a less than one percent "case fatality rate", has not resulted in a single fatality to-date. It comes as a puzzle though, that the government has stocked at least 600,000 capsules (enough to treat 60,000 patients) of Tamiflu, the medication that is supposed to be used to treat H1N1 cases. Are we expecting 60,000 or so H1N1 infections in the immediate future? Each capsule reportedly costs P150 each at retail drug stores. Let's do the math. 600,000 capsules. Just how much did the government pay for the Tamiflu stock? If even a fourth of that amount was allocated to preventing and/or treating dengue, could we have prevented the 57 (and counting) dengue deaths?

I think the matter calls for a legislative inquiry. That is, if the Senate is not too busy investigating the Kho-Halili sex video scandals. To this end, Senator Pangilinan was quoted as saying that: lawmakers have better things to do. "The CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform) extension, abrogation of Visiting Forces Agreement treaty, pushing for Right to Information - all these and more demand the attention of the senate," said Pangilinan. Killjoy, isn't he.

Meanwhile, the global economic downturn, which has pulled the Philippines down to its slowest growth in a decade, will result in the country’s failure to meet its poverty-reduction goal by 2010 and is expected to increase the number of poor Filipinos. The solution? Reset the poverty reduction target.

Vilfredo Pareto must be turning in his grave.

No comments: