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Injury Surveillance in Low-Resource Settings Using Geospatial and Social Web Technologies

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Background: Extensive public health gains have benefited high-income countries in recent decades, however, citizensof low and middle-income countries (LMIC) have largely not enjoyed the same advancements. This is in part due to thefact that public health data - the foundation for public health advances - are rarely collected in many LMIC. Injury dataare particularly scarce in many low-resource settings, despite the huge associated burden of morbidity and mortality.Advances in freely-accessible and easy-to-use information and communication (ICT) technology may provide theimpetus for increased public health data collection in settings with limited financial and personnel resources.Methods and Results: A pilot study was conducted at a hospital in Cape Town, South Africa to assess the utility andfeasibility of using free (non-licensed), and easy-to-use Social Web and GeoWeb tools for injury surveillance in lowresourcesettings. Data entry, geocoding, data exploration, and data visualization were successfully conducted usingthese technologies, including Google Spreadsheet, Mapalist, BatchGeocode, and Google Earth.Conclusion: This study examined the potential for Social Web and GeoWeb technologies to contribute to publichealth data collection and analysis in low-resource settings through an injury surveillance pilot study conducted inCape Town, South Africa. The success of this study illustrates the great potential for these technologies to be leveragedfor public health surveillance in resource-constrained environments, given their ease-of-use and low-cost, and thesharing and collaboration capabilities they afford. The possibilities and potential limitations of these technologies arediscussed in relation to the study, and to the field of public health in general.
Published as
Cinnamon and Schuurman International Journal of Health Geographics 2010, 9:25
Publication title
International Journal of Health Geographics
Document title
Injury Surveillance in Low-Resource Settings Using Geospatial and Social Web Technologies
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1476-072X-9-25.pdf 1.89 MB

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