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Defining activity spaces with GIS technology to reach urban dwellers with immunization services

Using geospatial data to identify activities of caregivers in underserved urban settings for planning & delivery of vaccination services.

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Describe what you intend to do and how you'll do it in one to two sentences (required 350 Characters)

The concept of “activity space” (defined as where an individual moves to conduct activities over a given time period) will be used to collect and analyze geospatial data from a sample of Cite Soleil residents to support managers and health providers to design delivery strategies and other activities that respond better to infant caretakers’ needs.

Explain the innovation (2,500 characters)

Traditional approaches used to plan routine immunization services rely on establishing a geographic catchment area around a health facility. This works well in rural areas where one facility provides services to the surrounding communities. In urban environments, this approach does not always work because a household may fall into more than one health facility catchment area or caretakers may choose to access a facility near their work as opposed to near their home. In Haiti, significant disparities exist in immunization coverage in urban areas where 78% of the wealthiest children have received DPT3 coverage compared to 52% of the poorest children. Cite Soleil, an area within Port au Prince, has over 300,000 inhabitants. Many work in the informal sector and live in poverty. This intervention will improve access to immunization services for over 8,000 infants in Cite Soleil by improving service delivery planning. The concept of “activity space” (defined as where an individual moves to conduct activities over a given time period) will be used to collect and analyze geospatial data from a sample of Cite Soleil residents to support managers and health providers to design delivery strategies and other activities that respond better to infant caretakers’ needs. We will develop visualizations of activity spaces (see visual example) by using a mobile application to log GPS coordinates of urban dwellers based on their major activities in the day and conduct qualitative case narratives to understand the findings that emerge. We will work with service providers to use findings to plan strategies that meet urban dwellers along their daily activity route thereby increasing their exposure to information and services. Previous public health interventions have used “activity spaces” to understand exposure to risk factors such as the relationship between where adolescents spend time and substance abuse as well as access to recreational space and obesity. Studies have found that using data on “activity spaces” supports the design of services that respond to user activity patterns and preferences ultimately leading to improved health outcomes. This innovation can transform planning for underserved urban communities by encouraging service providers to look beyond where clients reside and consider the spatial routines that individuals follow and how to leverage time and space to create more efficient vaccination service delivery strategies.

Which part(s) of the world does this innovation target?

  • Caribbean

Geographic Focus

The urban commune of Cité Soleil, located within the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince, had less than 30% DPT3 coverage from 2012-2016. Inadequate planning and implementation of vaccination campaigns, followed by an inequitable distribution of service centers account for the low coverage.

Stage of Innovation

  • Early Adaption

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We will collaborate with Haiti National Center for Geo-spatial Information (CNIGS), Youthmappers, and the local NGO-Hands Together. The Haiti CNIGS is responsible for collecting and disseminating spatial data through the HaitiData platform. We will collaborate with CNIGS by supporting capacity development and sharing any new data and analyses generated through this activity. YouthMappers uses web-based open geospatial technologies and a network of universities to build a generation of young leaders to define their world by mapping it. YouthMappers will support this activity by collecting geo-coordinate data for key points of interest such as markets, health facilities and community gathering sites. Hands Together works in the urban communes in Cite Soleil providing public health services. They will act as a gateway to the community and provide support in introducing the project, and enlisting eligible caregivers to participate in the activity.

How is your idea unique? (750 characters)

Immunization service providers currently rely on the distance between a caregiver’s residence and a health facility to determine which vaccination strategy to use. Creating catchment areas based on an activity enables providers to more inclusively plan for immunization services by reaching the greatest number of people at the place and during the times that are most convenient for the user. JSI is currently working to implement solutions to address urban immunization challenges in Haiti. The proposed planning approach will inform future strategies related to human resources, service delivery, vaccine supply, demand creation and monitoring of immunization services.

What is the name of your organization

John Snow, Inc. Research & Training Institute

Explain your organization (250 characters)

JSI provides support to public health programs in more than 100 countries, in technical areas such as immunizations and research. JSI has previously applied innovative geospatial solutions to address challenges in immunization program planning.

Type of Submitter

  • We are a registered NGO or Non-Profit Organization

Organizational Characteristics

  • not for profit

Gender and Diversity (500 characters)

JSI’s hiring practices support a commitment to diversity in race, culture, geography, and sexual orientation. JSI will collaborate with a YouthMappers chapter in Haiti to support female student mappers in our data collection efforts. The proposed activity supports gender equity by recognizing that working women in urban environments may need more services offered at different times or places than those in rural environments due to less flexibility in their schedule.

Organization Location (less than 250 Characters)

JSI is committed to improving the health of individuals and communities, with a particular focus on underserved and vulnerable populations. JSI's headquarters are located in Boston, Massachusetts with offices operating in countries across the world.

Size of organization (number of employees):

  • 101-1,000 people

Website URL

Scale of organizational work

  • Community (working within one or a few local communities within a region)

Tell us more about you

JSI has pioneered new approaches to increase access to vaccinations for the most vulnerable populations by bringing together experts across disciplines for over 30 years. We will bring together experts in immunization planning, data and GIS to understand preferences, and concerns of urban families and bridge gaps in service provision. JSI places value on equity. JSI has been working in Haiti on health and development projects for over 30 years and is currently working to improve immunization systems and outcomes in Cite Soleil. JSI will lead the design and overall implementation of this activity with support from the local Youthmappers chapter, which champions girl mappers, and the NGO, Hands Together who works in Cite Soleil.

Applying to Gavi INFUSE

  • Received an Email

Attachments (1)


A visualization of our concept of utilizing "activity spaces" to determine advantageous locations for vaccination services.


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