254440 Distribution of health facilities and disparities in maternal health in Ghana: A GIS approach

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Patience A. Afulani, MBChB, MPH , Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, los Angeles, CA
Background: Ghana, like many developing countries, is still grappling with high maternal mortality, most of which arise from complications during delivery. The distribution of health facilities in the country may be a major contributing factor. The purpose of this study is to analyze the spatial variation in health facilities and maternal health indicators in Ghana and identify hotspots for maternal health interventions. Methods: I employed Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques to map the location of health facilities and various maternal health indicators across geographic regions in Ghana. I then created an index to identify areas with the greatest need. Results: Though up to 90% of women go for at least one antenatal visit during pregnancy, only about half are assisted by skilled providers at delivery; with wide variations across regions. The northern part of the country which has the lowest concentration of health facilities has the lowest proportion births attended by skilled providers. There is also within region variation in these indicators. Within the Upper East region (one of the three the northern regions) the Talensi Nabdam district is the major hotspot. Distance to health facilities contributes significantly to the variation in maternal health indicators across the country, though it does not fully explain it. Implications: This research adds to the literature on the usefulness of GIS as a tool for community health profiling. By displaying spatial disparities in health facilities and maternal health indicators, policymakers and health workers can better target their interventions and efforts to improve maternal health.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
To describe the spatial variation in health facilities and maternal health indicators in Ghana To analyze the distribution of health facilities in geographic regions and percent of births assisted by skilled providers To identify hotspots for Maternal Health interventions

Keywords: Maternal Health, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at UCLA School of Public Health and I am from Ghana. I analyzed and wrote up the content of this presentation.
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.