GeoHealth is about geospatial approaches applied to health. Broadly defined, GeoHealth seeks to understand the relationships between people, location, time and health. The GeoHealth research group is dedicated to research and development in Global Health using advanced geospatial modelling, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Spatial Data Infrastructures, and spatial statistics. We collaborate extensively with the Institute for Environmental Sciences, several of our research lines are at the interface between Environmental Sciences and Health. In collaboration with WHO and the Health GeoLab Collaborative, we have developed and are maintaining the modelling software AccessMod, an open-source geospatial tool used in many low- and middle-income countries to model the physical accessibility of networks of health services. We are working closely with UNFPA, UNICEF, The Global Fund and the World Bank to develop innovative methodologies to tackle many challenges linked to accessibility, universal health coverage, and allocation efficiency.
AccessMod is both a "global" project (co-directed by Dr. Nicolas Ray and Dr. Steeve Ebener), and a geospatial modelling tool.
The AccessMod project seeks to help health practitioners and Ministries of health (and their partners) worldwide to develop and apply innovative strategies with geospatial data and tools to (1) better understand the status of their health services, and (2) to optimize the planning of future services. The GeoHealth unit at UNIGE focuses on the needs of the African countries, while the Health Geolab Collaborative concentrates on Asian countries.
The tool AccessMod (version 5) is a free and open-source standalone software to model how physically accessible existing health services are to the target population, to estimate the part of the target population that would not receive care despite being physically accessible due to shortage of capacity in these services (human or equipment), to measure referral times and distances between health facilities, and to identify where to place new health facilities to increase population coverage through the scaling up analysis. AccessMod is officially a World Health Organization (WHO) tool. See AccessMod Publication section for links to relevant AccessMod publications.
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) project "Tackling the second deadliest Neglected Tropical Disease: predicting and reducing the impact of Snakebite on human and animal health through interdisciplinary analyses of hotspots and access to care". Project duration: 2018-2022. The Snake-Byte project is a collaboration between the GeoHealth Unit at Institute of Environmental Sciences, the Department of Community Health & Medicine at UNIGE, and the One Health Unit at the Institute of Global Health of UNIGE.
With an international team of experts in tropical medicine and public health, animal health, ecology and environmental sciences, herpetology, and spatial analysis, the project will answer the following questions: what is the direct impact of snakebite in human populations living in rural areas of Nepal and Cameroun? What are indirect impacts through an impact on livestock animals and livelihood? Where are the areas/populations at highest risk of snakebite? What is the current geographic accessibility to snakebite lifesaving treatments (i.e. antivenom, ventilator support) in these two countries, and how can we improve it? What are the habitat and distribution of venomous snakes? What could be the consequences of future environmental and population changes on the severity of the snakebite crisis in Cameroon and Nepal?
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is collaborating with the GeoHealth unit since 2016 to develop new methodologies based on geospatial data and physical accessibility modelling in support to maternal health services. Engagement countries: Benin, Burundi, Guinea-Conakry, Senegal, Sudan, and Togo. With a Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNIGE and UNFPA in 2017, the unit is continuing to improve the geospatial methodologies and capacity building activities in several new African countries over 2018.
In 2018, the GeoHealth team is engaging with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to maintain and further develop AccessMod 5, and to build capacity for using GIS and AccessMod in Kenya and Myanmar.
Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
From 2018 to 2020, the GeoHealth team is helping the Global Fund to develop methodologies to strengthen allocative efficiency and impact assessment through geospatial modelling, notably in Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger.