Enhancing Family Planning and Reproductive Health Decision Making through GIS Data Linking
Please join MEASURE Evaluation PRH for a one-hour webinar titled "Enhancing Family Planning and Reproductive Health Decision Making through GIS Data Linking" on May 16 at 10AM EDT. Register online to attend the webinar.
Family Planning and Reproductive Health (FP/RH) services help provide the foundation for a stable, healthy, and economically viable society. Past global strategies, however, have often led to the implementation of FP/RH programs that were not integrated with other programs, despite the value of an integrated approach to meeting health needs. As a result, FP/RH program decision making can sometimes be hindered by a lack of information from other sectors (e.g., food security, education, and poverty, among others), and from other health programs, such as maternal and child health (MCH) or HIV/AIDS. The net effect is that information collected and maintained by these other sectors and programs is routinely not taken into account. Also, these other sectors and programs do not typically have access to FP/RH data to contextualize their policies and decisions.
Through its ability to link data sets using common geographic identifiers, a geographic information system (GIS) can help overcome this unnecessary separation of data. Once multi-sectoral data links have been established, a GIS also provides the ability to visualize and analyze program data—both qualitatively and quantitatively—in a fuller, more accurate context. As a result, a GIS can make program data much easier to understand and to use for evidence-based decision making.
This webinar will present the results of a case study undertaken in Rwanda in 2011 to assess the utility of a GIS to link, visualize, and analyze multi-sectoral data for FP/RH decision making. Rwanda was selected for the case study because it is considered by the USAID Office of PRH to be a priority country for the support of FP/RH programming, and because it possesses a spatial data infrastructure that is mature enough to facilitate GIS data linking and analysis.
Topics to be discussed:
- The value of multi-sectoral data linking, visualization, and analysis using a GIS.
- Using common geographic identifiers to link multi-sectoral data sets.
- Free and open source software (FOSS) GIS options:
- Excel to Google Earth (E2G) for single indicator mapping;
- Quantum GIS (QGIS) for creation of multi-indicator and publication-quality maps; and
- GeoDa for data visualization and analysis.
- Examples of GIS linking, visualization, and analysis using data for Rwanda:
- E2G to integrate contraception use and HIV prevalence data;
- QGIS to integrate FP/RH data, including commodities data from the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, and multi-sectoral data (e.g., HIV, poverty, food insecurity); and
- GeoDa to integrate contraception use and women’s education with HIV prevalence.
- Lessons learned on key data sources, common geographic identifiers, and GIS software options.
James Stewart has worked as a GIS professional for over 15 years, 11 in the field of public health, and has spent the last five years in international public health as a senior spatial analyst for MEASURE Evaluation. As a member of the MEASURE Evaluation geospatial team, Mr. Stewart leads GIS training efforts for Francophone countries, authors content for technical publications and online courses, facilitates national and international meetings to promote health and mapping sector cooperation, develops mapping software, and delivers presentations at conferences and at MEASURE GIS Working Group meetings. He has worked in Senegal, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Canada, and China (Hong Kong), and has collaborated remotely on projects in Nigeria and India. Mr. Stewart earned an MA in geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is fluent in French.