Title: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Global Health
Keywords: Planning and programming
Health systems
Health indicators
Disease prevention, control and elimination
Country: Netherlands
Institution: The Netherlands - Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Amsterdam
Course coordinator: Christina Mergenthaler
Date start: 2024-06-17
Date end: 2024-06-28
About duration and dates: 2 weeks full time. No preparation required. Applications to the course can be done as of one year prior to the course. The application deadline is 6 weeks before the start of the course but late applications may be considered if there are still seats left.
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location:
KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam
PO Box 95001, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Tel: +31-20-5688256 / Website: http://www.kit.nl
TropEd Representative: Lisanne Gerstel
ECTS credit points: 3 ECTS credits
84 hours total:
Contact hours: 70 hours (including lectures, Q&A sessions and 2 hr open book exam) and 14 hours self-study
Language: English
The aim 1ot he course 1ot h provide participants with the fundamental knowledge and skills enabling them to use QGIS open source GIS software to support health programme monitoring, evaluation and planning. Special attention is given to spatial data-management and analysis and using routine program data to strengthen program management. Participants will be familiarised with spatial analysis of epidemiological data, risk mapping and geographic access analysis.
At the end 1ot he module the participants should be able to:
1. Explain the relation between health and geography and the role of GIS to analyse these relations
2. Operate a GIS (QGIS) and apply basic cartographic techniques to visualize health data
3. Create and interpret thematic health maps
4. Describe spatial patterns of health indicators and epidemiological data
5. Apply QGIS software and geo-processing methods for the planning and evaluation of performance and coverage of disease control programs
6. Identify requirements for successful implementation of GIS tools in public health
Assessment Procedures:
A formative assessment 2ot he comprehension of theory and practical skills obtained during the first week 2ot he course will be made at the end 2ot he first week. This assessment includes an online (blind) assessment using multiple choice and open questions.

Course completion requires students to upload the results of their daily practical exercises onto the KIT online learning platform. Students need to upload the results of no less than 90% of the daily assignments to be eligible to do the final exam.The daily exercises build skills in each of the learning objectives. The results referred to in the sentence above are the mapped outputs of each daily exercise, accompanied by a text description of the methods applied to create the map, the spatial patterns observed, and how this should be interpreted to inform public health policy, in particular, resource allocation.

For tropEd students a summative assessment 2ot he learning objectives will be made at the end 2ot he second week 2ot he course. This assessment consists of a written exam and an oral presentation. Both parts 2ot he assessments (oral and written exams) contribute 50% 2ot he total score.

The written exam will be a open book online exam aimed to test theoretical knowledge of GIS concepts (120 minutes). Individual feedback on the exam results will be provided on inquiry of a student.

To test GIS skills and the ability to correctly map and interpret outputs, participants will have to give a short (10 minute) presentation showing the results of their own project or of one 2ot he case-studies provided. Presentations will be graded by two examiners (1 tutor + 1 independent examiner from KIT) according to pre-set grading criteria, including content related to target audience, relevance and interpretation of maps and applied methods. Feedback will be given at the end 2ot he presentation.

Students who fail the summative assessment, having an average grade of less than 55% will be offered a re-sit 2ot he written exam within a month after the course ends.
This course aims to provide health professionals with a solid understanding and hands-on practice allowing them to use GIS in their daily work.

The first week 2ot he course will focus on learning basic GIS theory and functions. Emphasis will be given to develop basic software operating skills and understanding of analytical approaches to analyse spatial data.

Specific topics further include:
- Basic GIS theory and principles including spatial data formats
- Introduction to QGIS (vs 3.34 or later) software package
- Spatial data management
- Using online data repositories and data extraction from cloud databases
- Data visualization and cartographic concepts
- Using geographic coordinate reference systems
- Introduction to essential geo-processing functions

The second week 3ot he course 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 analytical problems in the field of planning and evaluating disease control programmes and space-time analyses of health data.

Topics include:
- Spatial analysis of geographic patterns of disease: point pattern analysis and geographic cluster analysis
- Geographic access analysis: quantifying health service coverage
- Spatial Multi Criteria Risk Analysis using the MATCH approach
- Digital (spatial) data-collection using ODK software system

In both weeks guest speakers are invited to present applications 3ot he use of GIS in disease control programmes and research projects.

The course will use the following open source and freely available software packages:
- QGIS 3.x open source GIS package.
- GeoDA (https://spatial.uchicago.edu/geoda; optional)
This module is a face to face learning course in a classroom setting. Learning materials are shared exclusively via a Moodle based virtual learning environment (virtualgrounds.kit.nl), where students can also share results from their assignments and post questions 3ot he other students and the course facilitators. Interaction between learners and the lecturers will be conducted both on the virtual learning environment and during the classroom sessions.

The main learning methods employed are:
1. Supervised learning where students make use of the materials posted on Virtual Grounds to meet the learning objectives of the course. Learning materials include:
-Readings; downloadable or scanned articles, eBooks.
-PowerPoints with extended notes, will be presented in online webinars and recorded ‘narrative’ will be made available for reference.
-Recorded mini-lectures (voice, image & PowerPoint slides).
-Short videos, including recordings of KIT staff, associates or partners on practical examples of GIS applications in public health.
-Self-assessment quizzes. For students to test their knowledge and understanding of topics covered.
-Self-reflection on the learning process and theoretic knowledge gained throughout the course will be obtained from the students via daily anonymous feedback forms available on the virtual learning platform.

2. Initiating, and responding to, discussion strands on the discussion board. The exercises and assignments include questions for reflection and discussion. Students can initiate discussion topics as well. Discussions will be student-led. Tutors will monitor the discussions and give feedback on key points. Students can also discuss topics in a chatroom (but will not be required to do so).

Interactions on the discussion board and in a chatroom will enable students to exchange research experiences and insights, ask questions for clarification and give peer feedback. Importantly, these interactions will enable the building of a community of learners; a social community which will significantly enhance the learning experience. Group work plays an important part in this course and each group will have their own private discussion forum that only they (and the tutor) can access and which will be used in the final summative assessment and grading.

3. Giving and receiving constructive peer feedback, in written form on the online learning platform or during plenary discussions in class. Students are encouraged to give feedback to and to help address questions from their peers.

Tutorial sessions will be held during to address technical issues and to provide guidance to the completion of assignments on a one-on-one basis.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent academic training in either epidemiology, public health, medicine or another field related to health care, such as health sciences, economics, social science or nursing.
or: Participants having completed the core course of the Master in International Health programme.

Proven proficiency in spoken and written English in form of academic TOEFL or IELTS test. Minimum TOEFL score of 5.5 or a IELTS academic score of 6.0 or equivalent is required. In addition computer literacy is a prerequisite.

Prior exposure to GIS, including practical skills in GIS are not needed to follow this course.
Maximum number of students: 25 (min approximately 10)
Selection: First come, first served.
Regular course fee EUR 2.270
Early bird registration EUR 1.800 (paid before 17-03-2024)
tropEd fee EUR 1.760
Scholarships: Orange Knowledge Program (OKP) - student numbers change year by year.
Major changes since initial accreditation:
Based on the experiences gained over the last 10 years of running this course, it has been fully revised and restructured. The course has been adapted to meet the newly emerged needs and interests of the students and to make newly developed open source GIS tools available to the students. The most important changes are:
• Optional R exercise to learn how to make maps using R syntax
• New exercise using kriging interpolation
Student evaluation:
In general the module is positively evaluated, students indicate the training to be (very) useful. Most participants indicated the course lived up to their expectations. The most important points for improvement raised by students are:
1. the heavy workload;
2. difficulties to simultaneously learn new concepts from geography, ICT and epidemiology;.
3. Request for more in depth training on the use of spatial analysis and spatial statistics.
Lessons learned:
The interest in the course is still very high, yet the expectations and learning needs have shifted. Digital literacy has improved, yet students still struggle to interpret health maps. This limits the use of map outputs to translate to programme decisions. We will therefore add cases to interpret maps.

Students have become more critical regarding the course offer and supervision which can limit independent learning. We still experience that participants have very different levels of acquired competence at the end of the course which mainly depends on their own learning curve. Further diversifying our program with practical examples from the field has helped to accommodate the wide range of interests and to engage participants, so we will continue to offer a variety of exercises to learn individual concepts. Students can choose topics of interest which allows them to focus their learning to their specific needs. This is expected to relieve their perceived workload as well as the ability to absorb new concepts.
tropEd accreditation:
Accreditation in January 2008 in Cape Town; re-accredited in May 2012; re-accredited in October 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Re-accreditation in January 2019, in Lisbon; re-accredited in Febr 2024, online. This accreditation is valid until February 2029.
None at this time
Email Address: c.mergenthaler@kit.nl
Date Of Record Creation: 2019-02-15 08:56:56 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2019-02-15 14:05:20 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2021-03-18 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2024-03-08 18:42:47 (W3C-DTF)