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Knowledge and attitude of health workers about GIS and its application in malaria control


Geographic Information System is a system that involves organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographical data and personnel and designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze and display all forms of geographically referenced information. GIS can be used for mapping the incidence/prevalence of malaria over some geographic area, and also mapping of relationship between malaria incidence/prevalence and other potentially related variables. A study was done by FETP team to assess the knowledge and attitude of health workers in Saudi Arabia toward application of GIS in control of malaria.


A cross sectional study, covered different categories of health workers in malaria or communicable diseases control department in mainly malarious areas in Saudi Arabia. Also, it included health workers in communicable diseases control department in Riyadh. It involved mainly physicians, laboratories specialists, health inspectors, Parasitologists, and different types of technicians. The number of health workers involved in the study was 305. Data was obtained by using a self- administered questionnaire.


The mean age of the involved health workers was 41.8 years (± 9.9). About 37% heard about GIS and 71.4% gave the correct answer regarding meaning of GIS. The correct answers for the questions, which could be answered by using GIS, shown that the best correct answer was given to the question 'Where is it?' by 83%. On the other hand, 83.9% responded that GIS can be applied in health. About 89% out of health workers, who heard about GIS, responded that GIS can be used to map malaria incidence/prevalence and to determine its risk factors. Out of the 100 health workers who responded that GIS can be used to different determine malaria risk factors by more than 65% of health workers. Factors that might limit the use of GIS in control of malaria in Saudi Arabia were almost responded positively by more than 50% of health workers. More than 70% gave correct answers regarding the benefits from using GIS in control of malaria. About 33 % health workers heard about GPS device and only 8.2% got training on the use of GPS devices. Twenty five percent gave the correct meaning of GPS as global positioning system. However, 66% answered correctly that GPS device is used for allocation of coordinates. About 85% worked in malaria control. Mean working years was 10.8 (± 8.7). About 77% health workers usually need geographic information in their work, 40.7% from maps. Out of the total involved 305 health workers, 93.1% wanted to join the work in application of GIS in control of malaria in their work area.


This study showed that health workers have low knowledge regarding GIS and its general applications, benefits, requirements and limitations and also its application in malaria control and determining the relationship between malaria and risk factors. Also, the low knowledge of health workers for the GPS devices and their uses for coordinate's allocation was shown and the limited training courses on GIS that had been received by the involved health workers.