Scientific article
Open access

Defining service catchment areas in low-resource settings

Published inBMJ (Global health), vol. 6, no. 7, e006381
Publication date2021

► Defining an accurate, representative service catch- ment area is important for computing population de- nominators for disease mapping and efficient public planning, including health, education and social care. ► The growth in population settlement modelling tech- niques and provision of geocoded service databases has fuelled an increase in local and regional service access mapping to examine coverage and equity in much of sub-Saharan African countries. ► However, metrics of service access and catchments are often implemented based on convenience, disregarding the implications on accuracy of the catch- ment population, complexities of service use and the likely implications for public service planning. ► Lack of high spatial resolution geolocated data on residential locations of the service users has led to the use of rudimentary, inexact approaches to com- plex processes that define service catchment areas and should be used with caution. ► The improved collection of residential addresses of service users and service providers has increased the ability to develop new innovative models of ser- vice catchment. ► Improved data availability and data sharing must be accompanied by better models of service use. ► In this commentary, we revisit the issue by considering common approaches, key issues and best practices in defining a reliable service catchment area. ► We hope this will lead to further granular studies to populate and compare methods to improve the definition of service catchment areas in sub-Saharan Africa, ultimately improving efficiencies and equity in service use and more reliable interpretations of routine service use data.

  • Accessibility
  • Universal health coverage
  • GIS
  • Accessmod
  • Epidemiology
  • Health policy
  • Health services research
  • Health systems
  • Indices of health and disease and standardisation of rates
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 315130_176271 (SNAKE BYTE project)
Citation (ISO format)
MACHARIA, Peter M et al. Defining service catchment areas in low-resource settings. In: BMJ (Global health), 2021, vol. 6, n° 7, p. e006381. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2021-006381
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2059-7908

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