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Free and simple GIS as appropriate for health mapping in a low resource setting: a case study in eastern Indonesia

Fisher, Rohan P. and Myers, Bronwyn A. (2011). Free and simple GIS as appropriate for health mapping in a low resource setting: a case study in eastern Indonesia. International Journal of Health Geographics,10:15-25.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 82057923xPUB18
Title Free and simple GIS as appropriate for health mapping in a low resource setting: a case study in eastern Indonesia
Author Fisher, Rohan P.
Myers, Bronwyn A.
Journal Name International Journal of Health Geographics
Publication Date 2011
Volume Number 10
ISSN 1476072X   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-79951948124
Start Page 15
End Page 25
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher BioMedCentral Ltd.
Abstract Background: Despite the demonstrated utility of GIS for health applications, there are perceived problems in low resource settings: GIS software can be expensive and complex; input data are often of low quality. This study aimed to test the appropriateness of new, inexpensive and simple GIS tools in poorly resourced areas of a developing country. GIS applications were trialled in pilot studies based on mapping of health resources and health indicators at the clinic and district level in the predominantly rural province of Nusa Tenggara Timur in eastern Indonesia. The pilot applications were (i) rapid field collection of health infrastructure data using a GPS
enabled PDA, (ii) mapping health indicator data using open source GIS software, and (iii) service availability mapping using a free modelling tool.

Results:
Through contextualised training, district and clinic staff acquired skills in spatial analysis and visualisation and, six months after the pilot studies, they were using these skills for advocacy in the planning process, to inform the allocation of some health resources, and to evaluate some public health initiatives.

Conclusions:
We demonstrated that GIS can be a useful and inexpensive tool for the decentralisation of health data analysis to low resource settings through the use of free and simple software, locally relevant training materials and by providing data collection tools to ensure data reliability.
Keywords GIS
Indonesia
GPS enabled PDA
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-072X-10-15   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)


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Created: Tue, 16 Oct 2012, 14:50:40 CST by Teresa Haendel