Geographical Software Applications for Health Sector Planning: Experiences from a Study for Famine Management

  • Debarati Guha-Sapir
Part of the The GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 24)


The use of geographical techniques in the health sector has been an issue of increasing interest. Along with facilities in graphic presentations rendered easy by new software techniques in computers, mapping and related interpretations of numerical data has captured the attention of health care specialists as an useful tool. The stumbling block, however, has been the potential for analysis and the concrete uses that such a marriage would bring. The resolution and the accuracy of the data used in the health sector is generally far below the standards required for the proper application of geographical tools. Terminologies and underlying concepts also differ sufficiently to make interdisciplinary initiatives difficult. Despite these hurdles, in 1987, within a study financed by the World Health Organization (WHO) on information systems for famine management in Africa, the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research on Disaster Epidemiology (Brussels, Belgium) experimented with a specific application of geographical techniques for health sector planning. Although applications of geographical techniques were not the principle objective of the study, the potential for geographical information systems for health priority-setting and optimal planning, especially in situations where a rapid response is required, was considered worth a certain investment in research and development for appropriate applications.


Geographical Information System Health Sector Rift Valley Fever Principle Objective Geographical Information System Application 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Carter, D., G.W. Heath, G. Hovmork & H. Sax (1989). Space applications for disaster mitigation and management. Ada Astronomatica, 19: 229–249.Google Scholar
  2. Friedman, M. (1990). Putting the data to work. Dev Forum, 18: 12–13.Google Scholar
  3. Graeme, T. (1986). Satellite imagery: a broader view of the earth and its resources. UNDRO News, 11–16.Google Scholar
  4. Hugh-Jones, M. (1989). Applications of remote sensing is essential to the identification of the habitats of parasites and disease vectors. Parasitol Today, 5: 244–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Linthicum, K.J., C.L. Bailey, G.F. Davies & C.J. Tucker (1987). Detection of rift va: fever viral activity in Kenya by satellite remote sensing imagery. Science, 235: 1656–1659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Paul, C.K. & A.C. Mascarenhas (1981). Remote sensing indevelopment. Science, 214: 139–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. UN Environment Programme. Putting the data to work.Google Scholar
  8. Wortman, Sterling (1980). World food and nutrition: the scientific and technological base. Science, 209: 157–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Debarati Guha-Sapir
    • 1
  1. 1.WHO Collaborating Centre for Disaster Epidemiology Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of Louvain School of Public HealthBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations