Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
The structure of the GIS map databases
GIS mapping database contains geographical coordinates of countries, states, districts and sub-districts, and villages. These link with the standard database to show the leprosy data graphically, ie. as maps and charts. WHO/LEP is prepared to make these specialised GIS databases available to those national programmes that have access to the software required, such as MapInfo, Atlas GIS, or Arc Info. For those programmes without access to this specialised GIS software, WHO/LEP is willing to prepare maps on their behalf, showing national and sub-national data on prevalence, new case detection, distribution of MDT services, etc. on request.
A network of resources and expertise in GIS development has now been established in over twenty countries, funded by WHO, UNICEF and USAID as well as by individual UN member states. Since 1992, GIS systems have been developed for the control of Schistosomiasis and Dracunculiasis and more recently, for the control of Onchocerciasis
Steps in Developing a GIS system for Leprosy Elimination
There are two basic elements to developing a GIS system for leprosy. The first, geographic element, involves the accurate recording of the location of each health facility in the country. A list must first be compiled of the health facilities with their full address, and if readily available, the geographical coordinates (expressed in terms of latitude and longitude position) of the health facilities. The inclusion of these coordinates uniquely identifies each health facility and enables its position to be digitally mapped on a computer with great precision.