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Using geographical information systems in epidemiology: mapping & analyzing occurrence of diarrhea in urban–residential area of Islamabad, Pakistan

Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan is attracting families due to safety, lush green scenery and good infrastructure. Almost 2 million people are living in this city, and significant number of workforce commute from neighboring areas and other parts of the country. The city is facing restraint on natural resources due to increased urban migration coupled with rapid population growth. As a result, the infrastructure facilities and living conditions are deteriorating. Approximately 43 % shortage in water supply was reported by Capital Development Authority (CDA) in year 2015, the problems associated with drinking water availability and quality is rising along with other challenges including poor hygiene conditions and low income areas. A significant portion of population living in Islamabad is vulnerable to diarrhea epidemic, which has become a major public health problem. This research is limited to several residential sectors of Islamabad (city) to understand diarrhea epidemiology through the mapping of residents with diarrhea incidence, then global and focused test were conducted for cluster detection based on covariate factors illustrated using Geographic Information System (GIS). Diarrhea patient’s data from a main public sector hospital was available for a complete year (2013). Other relevant data on district boundary, residential sectors, Streets and Highways, Water Filtration Plants (WFP), Water Drainage Streams (WDS), Slums and Non-slum was received and prepared according to research requirements. During data preparation, all the data were digitized using point shapefiles, polyline shapefiles and polygon shapefiles. Hypothesis testing was conducted using global test (Average Nearest Neighbor) on diarrhea patients, the results indicated the spread of diarrhea had strong evidence of pattern. The study further explored, whether the disease spreads random or has some covariate factors influencing the spread. Henceforth, focused test was conducted using the location of WFP, WDS, Slums and Non-Slum to understand the role of those factors for the spatial dispersion of the disease using Average Nearest Neighbor. Diarrhea Incidence Rate (DIR) for each factor was found for summer and winter season to understand the effect of season/ temperature. In addition to that, KD maps were used for the detection of diarrhea hotspots visually. Finally, hotspot maps were produced for summer and winter using Getis-Ord GI* statistics method using DIR to show vulnerable areas in Islamabad with diarrhea Hotspots & Coldspots. GIS methods and tools were used in this study to explore spatial patterns of diarrhea based on factors identified. The results clearly demonstrated that the increase in distance of a household from WDS decreases diarrhea risk in summer and winter; the increase in distance of a household from WFP increases diarrhea risk in summer but the same is not observed for winter; increased diarrhea risk is observed in Slum during summer and winter, and increased diarrhea risk is observed during summer but the same is not observed for winter in Non-Slum. The derived information can be used for the containment of diarrhea epidemic in Islamabad using proper planning based on observed phenomenon. Similarly, GIS methodology adopted in this research can be further used in researches for other diseases spread through water contamination.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Author(s) Mirza Amir Liaquat Baig
Last Updated February 11, 2021, 21:58 (UTC)
Created December 8, 2020, 05:22 (UTC)
Stable Link
Date 2017-01-01
Publishing Body Master Thesis in Geographical Information Science (2017)
Content Type Publications
Primary Category Health & Emergency Response
Sub Category Epidemiology
Country Name Pakistan
Location-Region/City Islamabad
Location Latitude 33.6844
Location Longitude 73.0479
Publishing Organization New Light Technologies