BMC Res Notes 2019 Apr 2;12(1):196. Epub 2019 Apr 2.
University of Michigan School of Nursing, 400 N. Ingalls, Room 3237, Ann Arbor, USA.
Objective: Geospatial data are used by health systems and researchers to understand disease burdens, trace outbreaks, and allocate resources, however, there are few well-documented protocols for collecting and analyzing geographic information systems data in rural areas of low- and middle-income countries. Even with the proliferation of spatial technologies such as Open Street Map and Google Maps, basic geographic data-such as village locations-are not widely available in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this paper is to report a step-wise protocol, using geographic information system techniques and tools, developed to collect and analyze the type of spatial data necessary to calculate the distance between rural villages and maternity waiting homes located near rural primary healthcare facilities in Bong County, Liberia.
Results: Using a step-wise approach incorporating local healthcare provider knowledge, intensive field work, and spatial technologies such as Open Street Map and Google Maps for village geospatial data collection and verification, we identified village locations of 93.7% of the women who accessed the five maternity waiting homes in our study from 2012 to 2016.