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GIS in Health and Humanitarian Services Seminar

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On 25th of April the world was celebrating world malaria day. Many organizations, government departments and individuals all came together and celebrated the day and all did put their heads together in identifying areas of concern and how issues emanating from the same can be mitigated.

Photo taken at Oakar Services,Kenya.

GIS is a special tool whose capabilities cut across all sectors from agriculture to land administration, health sector inclusve. In a seminar on the use of GIS in Health and Humanitarian services at Oakar services, the Image Solutions executive, Ms Faith Kerubo talked about the several applications of the aforementioned in the health sector. Some of the applications include; medical research, disease prevention, access to health care, monitoring of affected populations during disease outbreaks and humanitarian services.

Mr Kevin Sewe, a Solutions Executive talked more about the geospatial solutions that can be used to mitigate the diseases and disasters. He gave an example of how to monitor landslides. When carrying out such an analysis, there are different parameters that can be integrated into the software and after the analysis the concerned stakeholders will have a basis of making informed actionable decisions with regards to the same. For a landslide, parameters like Land use and elevation are critical inputs. Landslides are common in places of rugged terrain and having a digital elevation model of the same is a prerequisite for the analysis. It is a common scenario that landslides are common during rainy seasons. This always makes the soils weak making them prone to landslides. Therefore, land use and climatic conditions are necessary parameters plausible for the analysis. According to Kevin, knowing all the parameters and the workflows, spatial models can be generated and solutions created from them. This gives us a new of looking at things. As explained by Mr. Sewe, the clusters in disease mapping that are always identified are geo or Temporally bound and when such is known, incentives can then be laid down to mitigate the issues.

In a summary, GIS can be used to predict the trends of a certain epidemic. Having the previous incidences mapped, through interpolation, other areas that might be affected by the same may be documented and this will go a very long way in in mitigating the spread of the outbreak. The same information will be crucial to the health sector can put up incentives of bringing health facilities close to the people. GIS and Earth Observation is also key in disaster management in identifying areas that are prone to disasters, the mitigation processes and how to gear up recovery efforts.