How applicable is geospatial analysis in maternal and neonatal health in sub-Saharan Africa? A systematic review

Sisay Mulugeta Alemu*, Abera Kenay Tura, Gabriel S Gurgel do Amaral, Catherine Moughalian, Gerd Weitkamp, Jelle Stekelenburg, Regien Biesma

*Corresponding author voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

5 Citaten (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the world's highest maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality and has shown the slowest progress in reducing them. In addition, there is substantial inequality in terms of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in the region. Geospatial studies can help prioritize scarce resources by pinpointing priority areas for implementation. This systematic review was conducted to explore the application of geospatial analysis to maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in SSA.

Methods: A systematic search of PubMed, SCOPUS, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases was performed. All observational and qualitative studies that reported on maternal or neonatal health outcomes were included if they used a spatial analysis technique and were conducted in a SSA country. After removing duplicates, two reviewers independently reviewed each study's abstract and full text for inclusion. Furthermore, the quality of the studies was assessed using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) critical appraisal checklists. Finally, due to the heterogeneity of studies, narrative synthesis was used to summarize the main findings, and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guideline was strictly followed to report the review results. A total of 56 studies were included in the review.

Results: We found that geospatial analysis was used to identify inequalities in maternal and neonatal morbidity, mortality, and health care utilization and to identify gaps in the availability and geographic accessibility of maternal health facilities. In addition, we identified a few studies that used geospatial analysis for modelling intervention areas. We also detected challenges and shortcomings, such as unrealistic assumptions used by geospatial models and a shortage of reliable, up-to-date, small-scale georeferenced data.

Conclusions: The use of geospatial analysis for maternal and neonatal health in SSA is still limited, and more detailed spatial data are required to exploit the potential of geospatial technologies fully.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's12
TijdschriftJournal of global health
StatusPublished - 9-aug.-2022


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