Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
There are many potential sources for obtaining the geographical coordinates of health facilities: Ministry of Health or Planning, the Central Statistics Office , the Department of Land Surveys, University geographic departments, or other institutions. Where coordinates on each individual health facility may not be available, the coordinates of the nearest village may be. Coordinates of the villages would be sufficient to start development of the GIS database.
If geographical coordinates for the health facilities are not available, it may be possible to approximate them by identifying their position on existing maps. These maps need to be sufficiently detailed to include village names and positions. They may be obtainable from the relevant ministry or Government department.. Using these maps, LEP will endeavor to digitize the position of the health facilities on a computer. In some countries, it may be possible for unmapped health facilities (i.e. those for which the geographical coordinates are not known) to be determined by using Geographic Positioning System (GPS) technology.
The second element to developing a GIS system for leprosy is recording the relevant baseline data for each health facility. The most relevant data required for leprosy is as follows:
- Location of the health facilities
- Number of Registered Cases
- Number of New Cases Detected during the Year