National Mapping Agencies Enlisted in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Health leaders and GIS specialists explored potential for data sharing and collaboration in the effective use of GIS for HIV/AIDS interventions.

Many African countries have robust spatial data infrastructure (SDI) initiatives underway. All too often, however, the health sector is not involved in these efforts. As a result, investments made by countries in developing SDI may fail to benefit those working to protect the health of citizens. 

To address this gap, in April 2009, MEASURE Evaluation, PEPFAR, and USAID partnered with UNAIDS, WHO and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to host a workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia encouraging dialogue between 188 health leaders and geographic information systems (GIS) specialists from 30 African nations and 6 non-African nations. For the first time in Africa, the workshop explored potential for data sharing and collaboration in the effective use of geography and GIS technology for HIV/AIDS interventions, with the ultimate intent of strengthening national SDI efforts.

As a direct result of the workshop, UNECA’s Committee on Development Information, Science & Technology (CODIST) approved resolutions calling for improved cooperation between ministries of health and national mapping agencies (NMAs). Recognizing the current and potential role of NMAs, delegates urged member States to ensure that the health sector actively engages national SDI.

Workshop agenda, presentations, group work documents and executive summary can be accessed here

A virtual community to facilitate continued collaboration is in development and will be announced in MEASURE Evaluation's newsletter, Monitor.