Mapping patients or at-risk populations can be an important first step in identifying priority areas for targeted interventions and monitoring and evaluating control programmes. A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system designed to capture, analyse, manage and present all types of data that are linked to geographical locations. GIS can be used to study the spatial distribution of leprosy patients and the relationship with environmental factors, and to identify hot spots (high transmission areas) areas needing special and intensified interventions. Moreover, GIS can be used to design appropriate interventions, for monitoring, planning and evaluation to improve programme performance and to increase access to care.
For which NTDs is this relevant?
Mapping disease distribution is essential for all NTD programs.
Relevant tools & projects
The ESPEN Portal is an electronic platform designed to enable health ministries and stakeholders to share and exchange subnational programme data, in support of the NTD control and elimination goals. Through this Portal, ESPEN illustrates, in the form of maps, site and district-level data that can be aggregated by disease and country. These maps, along with the downloadable underlying data, are tools to aid health officials and their partners in boosting and developing NTD interventions and strategies to reach key targeted communities. ESPEN aims to equip all stakeholders with the evidence they need to successfully tackle each disease, mobilize resources more efficiently, and target interventions appropriately.
The NTD Mapping Tool is an interactive mapping tool for planning and implementation of NTD interventions. It can visualize the geographical distribution and treatment status for many NTDs as well as data on access to improved sanitation and improved water sources. Although it does not contain any disability data as yet, this tool allows the user to selectively view multiple variables at once, identifying co-endemicity and intervention gaps, and thereby stimulating the progress for integrated programming in-country.
The Global Atlas of Helminth Infections (GAHI) shows the geographical distribution of NTDs transmitted by worms, including STH, schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis. Four different maps are presented by worm species, country and regions, including survey data maps, treatment coverage maps, water supply and sanitation maps, and predictive risk maps. It does not contain any disability data as yet. Publications, training materials, GPS guidelines and manuals can be found at the website.
The Global Trachoma Mapping Project, launched in December 2012 and successfully completeled in January 2016, has shown that 100 million people are at risk of blindness from trachoma. This largest infectious disease survey ever undertaken, saw surveyors collect and transmit data from 2.6 million people in 29 countries using Android smartphones.
The Global Atlas of Trachoma is an open-access resource on the geographical distribution of trachoma. It aims to combine published and unpublished data at district level and provide up-to-date country maps of trachoma distribution. Maps show the most recent district-level prevalence estimates of active trachoma and trichiasis (visual impairment and blindness), based on population-based prevalence surveys (PBPSs). Where PBPS data are not available, trachoma rapid assessment (TRA) or Ministry of Health data may be used to indicate areas where trachoma and trichiasis has been found to be present or absent, or is suspected to be present or absent. This provides information if more surgery services for people with trichiasis (visual impairment and blindness) is needed or not.
The African Programme Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) strategy was one of the first attempts to develop evidence-based maps of a NTD. It provides static, downloadable country level maps of onchocerciasis and loa loa (co)-endemicity, identifies areas requiring community-directed treatment with ivermectin, and registers severe adverse events. It does not contain any disability data as yet.