Nigerian Summit Maps Better Data Sharing

MEASURE Evaluation, along with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and mapping agencies, organized the country’s first Health and Mapping Summit, to improve access to health data.

Nigerian Summit
The 2011 Nigeria Health and Mapping Summit included more than 120 participants.

Geographic information systems (GIS) offer enormous potential for furthering understanding of public health and improving health outcomes. However, in Nigeria the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) has for years operated without access to the data necessary for these approaches. MEASURE Evaluation, along with the Nigerian FMoH and mapping agencies, organized the country’s first Health and Mapping Summit, held this October 18-19 in Abuja, to address this gap.

The 2011 Nigeria Health and Mapping Summit: Enlisting National Mapping Agencies in Improving Health Outcomes brought together 120 participants including Members of Parliament, program managers, leaders from local and international NGOs and donor agencies such as USAID, the World Health Organization and the World Bank. Together, they worked to increase the FMoH’s involvement in Nigeria’s national geo-spatial data infrastructure (NGDI) program, and to share data, especially health-related data, between sectors.

Summary of the 2011 Nigeria Health and Mapping Summit

“Nigeria already has a robust NGDI program, as well as many regional centers of excellence in geographic information systems,” said Kola Oyediran, MEASURE Evaluation’s Senior Technical Resident Advisor in Nigeria, who helped organize the summit along with the Health and Mapping Steering Committee. “However, the responsibility for producing and maintaining spatial data is spread across multiple ministries and agencies. We wanted to bring the health sector, especially our HIV/AIDS agencies, into contact with those groups.”

Geographic information systems allow data to be posted, compared and analyzed on maps. GIS can support planning of health programs, predict the occurrence of outbreaks, and show relationships between health and location, environmental factors, and other variables. GIS are also valuable for other programs, such as education, water, environmental sanitation, and agriculture. "Greater sharing between the Nigerian FMoH and other organizations has the potential to be a mutually beneficial arrangement," Oyediran said.

MEASURE Evaluation has worked in Nigeria since 2000 in a variety of health areas, including orphaned and vulnerable children, HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases, to build Nigeria’s capacity and strengthen its health information systems. Recent publications about Nigeria on MEASURE Evaluation’s Web site include:

Read more about MEASURE Evaluation’s work in Nigeria here.