Geographic Information Systems
Geographic information systems (GIS) training was identified during APMEN III as priority area in malaria elimination efforts in the Asia Pacific Region. In collaboration with the National Institute of Parasitic Diseases, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NIPD, China CDC), the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP)/Oxford University and the University of Queensland, APMEN funded its first GIS training from 7-11 November 2011 at the NIPD in Shanghai, China.
The APMEN GIS training course was attended by 35 participants from a range of Country Partners and Partner Institutions. The course focussed on how advances in mapping, GIS database, Decision Support System technologies, and progress in spatial and tempero-spatial modelling, can be harnessed to work towards efforts to eliminate malaria. Emphasis was made on the methodology and practical application of epidemiological tools, the interpretation of data, and on the decision making that ensues. The course provided participants with skills and knowledge to make more informed decisions in the real-world based on viewing, querying, analyzing and communicating spatial data in a malaria elimination context.
There was a variety of learning needs and experience levels using GIS within the group but the freeware program that was installed and used by the facilitators was new to everyone. Those more advanced in GIS assisted others in the group and there was enriching group discussions and collegiality. Overall, the overwhelming majority of participants who attended GIS thought the training was well organised and very relevant. Over 75% of the participants were impressed by the quality of the presentations and computer exercises, while 78% of participants enjoyed the study tour. 84% of participants claimed that they were either extremely or moderately satisfied with the GIS training.
On completion of the APMEN GIS Training Program, all attendees were asked to join the APMEN GIS user’s network Google group. This network will be up and running in January 2012 and aims to promote sustained information sharing and collaboration on malaria elimination and GIS and to encourage continued engagement with APMEN.
APMEN would like to thank Professor Zhou Xiao Nong and his team at NIPD in Shanghai, who kindly arranged the venue, accommodation, meals, equipment and field trip. APMEN also acknowledges the time and input from Dr Jon Cox (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health), Erick Hale (Solomon Islands), Gerald Kelly and Ricardo Soares Magalhaes (University of Queensland) towards the preparation and running of the Training Program.