Title: Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in disease control programs
Keywords: Planning and programming (incl.. budgeting and evaluation)
Health systems
Health information
Disease prevention & control
Country: Netherlands
Institution: The Netherlands - Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Amsterdam
Course coordinator: Mirjam Bakker
Date start: 2018-06-25
Date end: 2018-07-06
About duration and dates: 2 weeks,
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location:
Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
ECTS credit points: 3 ECTS credits
90 hours total: 70 contact hours face-to-face and 20 hours self-study
Language: English
The aim of the course is to provide participants with the fundamental knowledge and skills enabling them to use of GIS as a tool for improved planning and performance of disease control. Special attention is given to data-management and how routine program data incorporated into GIS system can be effectively utilized to strengthen program management. Participants will be familiarised with space-time analysis of epidemiological data, risk mapping and geo-spatial access analysis.
At the end of the module the participants should be able to:
• explain the purpose of GIS and spatial data to disease control programs
• operate a GIS and apply basic cartographic techniques to visualize health data
• produce and interpret health maps
• describe spatial patterns of health indicators and epidemiological data.
• apply GIS methods for the planning and evaluation of performance and coverage of disease control programs
• identify requirements for successful implementation of GIS tools in public health
Assessment Procedures:
A formative assessment of the comprehension of theory and practical skills obtained during the first week of the course will be made at the end of the first week in Enschede. This assessment includes an online (blind) assessment using multiple choice and open questions.
For TropEd students a summative assessment of the learning objectives will be made at the end of the second week of the course. This assessment consists of a written exam and an oral presentation. Both parts of the assessments add 50% to the total score.
The written exam will be an open book exam aimed to test theoretical knowledge of GIS concepts (60 minutes). Individual feedback on the exam results will be provided on inquiry of a student.
To test GIS skills and ability to correctly map an interpret outputs, participants will have to give a short (10 minute) presentation showing the results of their own project or of one of the case-studies provided. Presentations will be graded by two examiners (1 from KIT and 1 from ITC) according to pre-set grading criteria, including contents related to target audience, relevance and interpretation of maps and applied methods. Feedback will be given at the end of the presentation.
Students who fail the summative assessment, having an average grade of less than 55% will be offered a re-sit of the written exam.
This course is an introduction course to provide health professionals with a solid basis to use GIS in their daily work. The first week will take place at the ITC in Enschede. Participants will be familiarized with basic techniques in GIS with emphasis on developing basic software skills. Furthermore participants will start to explore their own case data.

Specific topics further include:
• basic GIS theory and principles including spatial data formats
• spatial data management
• introduction to ESRI ArcGIS software package
• visualization and cartographic concepts
• Geographic Coordinate Systems and projections
• creation of different types of maps
• geoprocessing; creation of buffers, distance and context operators

The second week at KIT will provide the opportunity to apply and extend the GIS skills that have been learned in the first week into a public health context. The course will address specific problems in the field of planning and evaluating disease control programmes and space-time analyses of health data.

Topics include:
• examining spatial data that describe the location, shape and relation of disease with geographic features.
• Descriptive and basic analytical geographical methods for understanding and interpretation of these spatial disease patterns.
• Digital (spatial) data-collection using ODK software system

In both weeks guest speakers are invited to present applications of the use of GIS in disease control programmes and research projects.

The course will use ESRI ArcGIS. Participants will obtain a one-year student license of ArcGIS (ESRI).
Introductory lectures will be given (16 hrs). Most of the time the students will have practical computer sessions, working on individual and groups assignments and case-studies (40 hrs). Students will present and discuss their assignments (10 hrs). Guest speaker are invited to show the implementation of the techniques in the field (4 hrs). Participants are expected to study the background reading and work independent of tutors on the case-studies (20 hrs).
Graduate course on public health or international health, equivalent to BSc level.
Having completed core course of MIH.
Computer literacy.
English level TOEFL 550 or IELTS 6.5 (academic version)

Prior exposure to GIS, including practical skills in GIS are not needed to follow this course. In case of online course, please
Maximum number of students: 25
Maximum number of tropEd students: 5
Selection is conducted by the module coordinator based on the prerequisites. No additional selection criteria are used.
1585 Euro Early-bird fee (payment before 31st of March);2010 Euro Standard fee
Netherlands Fellowship Programme www.nuffic.nl
Major changes since initial accreditation:
• The topics covered during the first week have been further aligned to the needs of the second week, providing more time to deepen understanding of the topics taught.
• Over the course of the first week participants are provided with a case study that builds-up skills while working on the same topic.
• The case studies offered during the second week have been categorised into tracks to facilitate participants interested in M&E and data visualisations and those interested more in spatial analysis and statistics. This helps students to focus more on topics relevant to their work. Theoretic lectures remain compulsory for all participants.
• The case-studies offered provide a more diverse range of public health topics
• Special case studies have been developed for more advanced participants, these are optional.
• Spatial statistics using R has been replaced by the more user friendly package GeoDA and is offered by KIT instead of ITC.
• The session teaching students about the functioning and use of GPS to collect spatial point data has been replaced by a session introducing data collection using handheld PDA’s (e.g. ODK).
Student evaluation:
In general the module is positively evaluated, students indicate the training to be (very) useful. Evaluations demonstrate that the division between ITC and KIT is well received. Most participants indicated the course lived up to their expectations. The increase in case-studies offered is sometimes perceived as overwhelming, yet others appreciate the rich and tailored offer. Engaged students sometimes indicate they would appreciate further follow-up and guidance after the course when they are back at work implementing their newly acquired skills
Lessons learned:
The interest in the course in enormous and still growing. Unfortunately many that registered for the course are not able to come due to financial constraints.

Over the years we have learned that participant expectations are high However, as participants will be exposed to several new topics of various levels of complexity, having to learn how to work with a complicated software package, expectations can be unrealistic. The two weeks are sufficient as a first introduction, and form a good basis for further development of GIS skills in advanced courses or by self-development. We have learned that clearly identifying and managing expectations from the start of the course improves students satisfaction.

We have experienced that participants have very different levels of acquired competence at the end of the course which mainly depends on their own learning curve. Diversifying our program has helped to accommodate the wide range of participants.

Over the years we have learned that you cannot expect participants without any prior GIS knowledge to become experienced in the field of GIS for disease control in only two weeks. Apart from the theoretical background on GIS, participants need to learn how to work with a complicated software package. The two weeks are sufficient as a first introduction, and form a good basis for further development of GIS skills in advanced courses or by self-development.

We have experienced that participants have very different levels of acquired competence at the end of the course which mainly depends on their own learning curve.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in Cape Town tropEd GA meeting, January 2008. Re-accredited in May 2012 and in December 2016. This accreditation is valid until December 2021.
Remarks: online application
Email Address: m.bakker@kit.nl
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-01-19 03:07:20 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2012-01-19 09:16:51 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2017-03-19 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2017-10-10 16:09:27 (W3C-DTF)

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