242415 Using GIS as a tool for community health profiling: Identifying priority areas for recruitment of human resources for health in Senegal

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 11:10 AM

Philip M. Massey, MPH , School of Public Health, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Background: In 2005, Senegal had an estimated maternal mortality ratio of 980 deaths per 100,000 live births, well above the global average of 400. The distribution and concentration of health workers has been shown to be associated with improved health outcomes, including maternal mortality. To explore this relationship, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is used to examine the regional distribution of human resources for health and related maternal health indicators in Senegal.

Purpose: Geography plays a significant role in health care and health access. Applying GIS as a tool for community health profiling, especially in underserved areas like Senegal, provides an additional option for presenting health data. Moreover, this technique offers an innovative approach to examining the relationship between place and health.

Methodology: Unmet need of human resources for health as well as relevant maternal health indicators are mapped at the regional level using GIS to examine geographic variation. Using these data, an index is created to identify priority areas for midwife service expansion that is also mapped at a regional level.

Results: Large disparities exist between regions the distribution of health personnel and maternal health indicators varies greatly, with the greatest inequity occurring in the eastern regions. Physician and nurse shortage is a major concern outside of the region of Dakar, and midwife shortages exist throughout the entire country.

Conclusion: An imbalance in the distribution of health personnel exists in Senegal that may contribute to the disproportionate burden of disease experienced in many rural and semi-urban areas. This research contributes to the GIS health-related literature in showing that GIS can be an effective tool for community health profiling. Specifically, this technique can be used to examine spatial disparity, allowing policy makers, public health officials and community development projects to assess resources and need based on geographic distribution.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the regional distribution of health care personnel and maternal health indicators in a resource-limited environment using GIS. 2) Identify priority regions for policies targeting the recruitment and training of midwives. 3) Illustrate the usefulness of applying GIS techniques to aid policy development.

Keywords: Geographic Information Systems, Community Health Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have implemented and evaluated health education and community development programs in West Africa for which I have published results.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.