The Health of the inhabitants of a community is very important and should not be taken with levity, the health of the people in a community is not only in the hands of the people and health practitioners, planners also have a role to play in the health sector.
Role of a planner in the health sector
The role of a planner is to allocate health centers and facilities to the appropriate location. That seems simple but the work that goes into it is very complex.
When making decisions about provision of public health services the following guiding principles apply.
The first is to provide services in an equitable way. Notions of fairness and social justice are invariably stated as being at the core of public health care interventions. Normally, these view point entails that priority should be given to the more vulnerable population groups.
The second objective is to provide services that are effective. Treatment should offer real benefit, resources should not be wasted on providing services that offer little health gain.
The third objective is to provide services that are efficient. The services should maximize health benefit to society while minimizing the cost of provision.
How can it be achieved?
It can be achieved with the use of the Geographic Information System.
Data on the location of households in the community will be acquired.
This data will be used to identify the target population. In order to know the distance of the households to the health centers, an analysis known as near tool in ArcGIS can be used. This will help in knowing the maximum, minimum and average distance to the health centers. This will help in adequately allocating an appropriate health center or facilities.
Data on the location of health centers and facilities will be acquired.
This data will be used to determine the coverage of the existing health centers, using buffer analysis, we can get the extent that the existing health centers covers. We can also use selection by location to know households or buildings that falls within this area.
Data on vulnerable population groups will be acquired.
Data will be acquired on population groups that are vulnerable to diseases or groups that do not have access to any health centers or facilities.
Data on the road networks will be acquired.
This data will be used to determine travel time from the households to the health centers. This can be done using the Network Analyst on ArcGIS.
Combining all these criteria and analysis will give a planner a clear view of where health centers and facilities should be located.