A spatial database of health facilities managed by the public health sector in sub Saharan Africa
Health facilities form a central component of health systems, providing curative and preventative services and structured to allow referral through a pyramid of increasingly complex service provision. Access to health care is a complex and multidimensional concept, however, in its most narrow sense, it refers to geographic availability. Linking health facilities to populations has been a traditional per capita index of heath care coverage, however, with locations of health facilities and higher resolution population data, Geographic Information Systems allow for a more refined metric of health access, define geographic inequalities in service provision and inform planning. Maximizing the value of spatial heath access requires a complete census of providers and their locations. To-date there has not been a single, geo-referenced and comprehensive public health facility database for sub-Saharan Africa. We have assembled national master health facility lists from a variety of government and non-government sources from 50 countries and islands in sub Saharan Africa and used multiple geocoding methods to provide a comprehensive spatial inventory of 98,745 public health facilities.