GIS in Healthcare Planning: A Case Study of Varanasi, India
Abstract: The objective of this paper is to examine the relevance of Geographical information system (GIS) supporting health planners for a district level healthcare planning. For this purpose, an attempt has been made here to calculate the hospital requirement area to know the specific sector that needs to better develop health facilities. The weightage is assigned to the class of thematic layers respectively to produce weighted thematic maps, which have been overlaid and numerically added in order to produce a Hospital requirement index (HRI) and hospital requirement zone (HRZ) map. These maps are very useful to calculate the exact area having good health facilities and also those wherein healthcare facilities need to be improved in Varanasi district. The Hospital requirement index (HRI) values according to the weighting method are found to lie in the range from 11 to 23. After calculation by weighting method using selected indicators, it is found that the areas coming under very high and high requirement class is 46.62% and 7.55%, respectively, whereas 3.39% and 42.63% of the total areas comes under low and moderate requirement classes in Varanasi district. Primary data are also collected from 800 respondents of 16 selected villages (2 villages from each development block) in the rural parts of the district to know about the utilization of healthcare facilities and their results are analysed with the help of statistical SPSS software. It is interesting to note that only 25.38% respondents are satisfied with the available healthcare services of primary health centres (PHCs), while 60% of respondents remain partially satisfied. The remaining 14.62% (117) respondents are not satisfied with the services of PHCs.