Usage of maps in Bangladesh's public health sector is satisfactory, a recent survey by University of Texas at Dallas shows, says a press release issued on Thursday. But Bangladesh is yet to use this preparedness by employing Geographic Information System (GIS) for informed decision-making in public health, it said.
The original study based on the survey, published in the Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, reveals that with current infrastructure and institutional setup Bangladesh already use GIS tools for planning community health service, emergency and obstetric care services, and disease mapping.
It also identified several barriers that keep Bangladesh from fully adopting the use of GIS tools, they include a lack of collaboration between institutions, lack of trained personnel and lack of awareness of the use of geographic information systems in decision-making.
Dr. Dohyeong Kim, one of the authors, said that as Bangladesh already collects the data necessary for GIS analysis. ''The next step is to analyze and visualize the information to understand patterns and trends,'' He said.
Kim and co-author Priyanka Vyas, a PhD student in public policy and political economy, collaborated on the study with Dr. Malabika Sarker, professor at the James P. Grant School of Public Health at BRAC University in Dhaka.
To adopt GIS tools for decision-making purposes in public health, they suggest ''capacity building initiatives within government agencies and collaboration between different agencies for collecting and sharing GIS data.''
Bangladesh has made significant strides towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals relating to health, but experts say the government still needs to do more to create a more accessible health service.