This projects promotes the application of the Geographic Information System (GIS) tools by applying geo-visualisation techniques and spatial analysis to routinely collected TB data. Tools and techniques providing information essential for a better understanding and effective targeting of supervision and remedial actions to improve TB program and its supporting TB laboratory services were developed as part of this project.
Managing TB’s heterogeneity
The greatest pitfall in the control of tuberculosis is the negligence of the heterogeneity of the disease burden. Disease control can only be effective if its implementation if it is well designed, planned, monitored and evaluated. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) form a high potential, yet underutilised as a tool to assist the public health officials to assess burden and monitor its trend, to analyse its risk factors or determinants, and to develop policy, advocate for resources, implement interventions and raise questions for further research.
Creating answers and abilities
KIT Royal Tropical Institute epidemiologists and GIS experts developed a set of analytical and standardised mapping applications. These applications help to overcome constraints to monitoring programme implementation and performance and increased the local capacity for using GIS.
Continued use of these applications will allow TB programme managers and coordinators to conduct critical spatial appraisals of programme performance and to make optimal use of available health information.
During a one-week workshop these tools were presented to various end-users working in TB-prevention and control in Ethiopia. Participants were trained in the use of TB programme Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) indicators as well as a basic understanding of data management and quality checks.
Finally, GIS operational skills were strengthened by completing a number of interactive exercises using actual regional TB – program data.