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Participatory Mapping to Assess Service Catchment and Coverage in Tanzania

by on December 11, 2014

Using Participatory Mapping to Assess Service Catchment and Coverage. Guidance from the Iringa Participatory Mapping ExerciseUsing Participatory Mapping to Assess Service Catchment and Coverage: Guidance from the Iringa Participatory Mapping Exercise

Effective program planning requires matching services with service needs. Program efficiency is enhanced when resources are targeted to or focused on program priorities, including areas of greatest need, underserved locations, or vulnerable populations. Geographic information systems (GIS) can be an effective decision-support tool to provide policy makers, program planners, and other stakeholders with maps of the spatial distributions of needs and service coverage, showing where services are matched to needs and where there are coverage gaps.

While such maps are easy to interpret, they are only as good as the data on which they are based. Some data may be readily available—for example, the locations of fixed facilities such as hospitals or clinics. Other data may need to be collected—for example, the size and location of groups who need specific services and the effective catchment area of program sites.

In Iringa Region, Tanzania, MEASURE Evaluation piloted a novel, low-cost approach using easily replicable methods to identify catchment areas and estimate coverage patterns for facility-based and outreach HIV services. The approach used combination of key informant interviews, printed maps, and open source GIS software to produce computer-generated, district-level maps of catchment and coverage patterns. This working paper details that approach for those seeking evaluate the spatial distribution of their own health programs.

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