NAIROBI KENYA, The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Program has launched a dataset of comprehensive public health facilities from 50 countries and islands in sub- Saharan Africa. Linking health facilities to populations has traditionally been based on a health facility per/capita basis, often ignoring the geographic, social and economic drivers of health facility distribution. This new dataset is important because, it locates health facilities in relation to the communities they are intended to serve. The location of health facilities forms a key cornerstone for health system planning, particularly by ensuring that the right services are accessible to the right populations and that no one is geographically marginalized from essential services. This is critical for attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and wellbeing.
This dataset contains information on 98,745 public health facilities managed by governments, local authorities, faith-based organisations and non-governmental organisation that offer health services to the general population. This is an important geo-coded database that should be available in the public domain, and the first comprehensive spatial inventory of public health facilities for sub Saharan Africa.
The lead investigator and also Head of Population Health Unit at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme Dr. Emelda Okiro, states “the database will be useful across numerous domains for evaluating public health sector service delivery and optimizing health care to evaluating the emergence of epidemic pathogens and will be an invaluable resource tool for governments in the quest to provide Universal Health Coverage- Defining and planning for universal equity in access to health services demands better data on the location of both services and populations they are intended to serve.”
In the creation of this dataset, country-specific public health facility databases were developed through a careful documentation, validation and curation process of data assembly from a variety of sources.
The comprehensive master facility list is freely available through the figshare repository https://figshare.com/articles/Public_health_facilities_in_sub_Saharan_Africa/7725374
and through the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Programme https://www.who.int/malaria/areas/surveillance/public-sector-health-facilities-ss-africa/en/
The data set available on the WHO platform will be continuously updated through further in-depth validation and collaborations with individual countries. The research team behind this project recognises that the dataset is incomplete and will change overtime. As such, they encourage readers to alert them via email on additional and/or newly available data. The information provided will be vetted and included into the data set if found appropriate.