Climatology-aware health management information system to enhance cholera epidemic analysis and prediction in Tanzania
Luhanga, Edith T.
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The cholera epidemic remains a public health threat in many developing countries including Tanzania. It affects vulnerable populations living with an unreliable water supply and sub-standard sanitary conditions. Various studies have found that the occurrence of cholera has strong linkage with environmental factors such as climatology aspects and geographical location. In addition, climatology has been strongly linked to the creation of weather patterns that favor the transmission and growth of Vibrio cholerae, which causes the disease. There are several studies that have been conducted to integrate environmental factors into the existing health management information systems (HMISs) in order to enhance the analysis of cholera epidemics in Tanzania. This work explored how well climatology factors have been integrated into these existing HMISs and the potential of the systems in enhancing cholera epidemics analysis. We found that most of the existing HMISs have not explicitly integrated environmental and climatology features for effective analysis of diseases. We thus proposed the design and development of an effective Climatology-aware HMIS. Then, evaluate it with clinical and environmental data such as; geographical location, weather, conditions of the day, and date on set, of 22 medical students staying in the Mweka district in Tanzania. The results of system evaluation showed that 87% provided positive feedback on the capacity of the developed system, towards enhancing the cholera epidemic analysis and prediction linked with environmental factors particularly the climate change variables. The study recommends the review of systems and policies in the health sectors in order to adapt climatology factors.