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‘GIS critical in monitoring health in Africa’

Rwanda: Geo-information technologies are important in addressing health challenges on the African continent and across the world, experts observed during the two-week course on the use of GIS technology in addressing health issues. The course is organised by the Centre for Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing at the National University of Rwanda (CGIS-NUR), in collaboration with the University of Twente in the Netherlands and the Dutch Royal Tropical Institute (KIT).

Dr Gaspard Rwanyiziri, CGIS-NUR director, said using GIS technology, one can for instance map malaria-prone areas for policy makers to take informed action.

Rwanyiziri said the course is designed for experts in GIS and those in the health sector who would work hand in hand to address the challenges affecting the public health in their respective countries.

Dr Sherif Amer from the University of Twente, observed that with GIS, health professionals can influence the progress of health surveillance and the geographic allocation of health resources and facilities.

He noted that GIS helps to inform proper understanding and leads to better decisions in the health sector.

He said the technology can help identify areas where people have little access to health facilities and convince policymakers to set up dispensaries according to the needs.

He observed that the collection and dissemination of health information is essential for the improvement of the health sector, noting that GIS technology helps to get to that end.

NUR Rector, Prof Silas Lwakabamba said, “Geo-information technology has the potential to address health challenges by providing tools to analyse location-based data producing prescriptive and predictive information needed for informed decision making in public health management”.

Source: All Africa