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Covid-19 Made Kenya Relook How it Caters to its Population’s Needs

The value and potential of geographic information system – or GIS, “the science of where” – has become even more obvious this year as the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. The science consists of a framework for gathering, analysing and visualising spatial data for better decision-making. Organisations and individuals in Kenya have taken advantage of geographic information system to gain spatial insights on COVID-19 to inform decision making and responses. They can show where the vulnerable populations and active cases are, where to find care, and where there are resource gaps. They also build a picture of the pandemic over time. One analysis by Kenyan health economist and financing researcher Edwine Barasa and colleagues revealed significant gaps in the capacity of hospitals to handle a potential surge in the early phases of the pandemic. In the same analysis they showed that only 22% of Kenya’s population lived within two hours of a facility with an intensive care unit.