Spatial Planning of Health Services In Tulkarm City and Its Suburbs Using The Tool Of Geographic Information Systems GIS

Ahmed Ghodieh's picture
Saleem Ahmed Saleem Estith
Most Palestinian cities face a number of problems and challenges in terms of the poor distribution of public services in general and the health services in particular, and also their concentration in center of cities and non-observance of planning standards in the distribution of services to cope with population growth and urban expansion and the needs of the population of these services. This study was to address the issue of spatial planning of health services in the city of Tulkarem and its suburbs using the techniques of geographic information systems (GIS). The main objective of this study is to analyze the current spatial distribution of health services and their suitability for spatial planning standards that meets the needs of the community in the city of Tulkarem and its suburbs, as well as providing a proposal for a better spatial distribution and efficient health services in the study area that could help stakeholders and decision makers to take appropriate steps to develop this vital service. The methodology of study followed the descriptive and analytical approach based on the results of the census carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in 2007, and the results of a comprehensive field survey carried out by the author for public health services, hospitals and health centers, including the health center of the UNRWA in the refugee camp of Tulkarem and pharmacies in the study area, in addition to the current structural plan of the city as a basis to identify planning areas, and calculating the area and the population distribution. The analysis and evaluation of the current spatial distribution of health services was undertaken by comparing the standards of planning for health services in some neighboring countries, and through the use of neighborhood links and the scope of service and the impact of natural distribution of area and population. The results of the analysis showed that the health services, especially with regard to primary health care centers and pharmacies in the study area suffer from poor and inadequate distribution, causing pressure on the service and adversely affect the level of health of the population. The study identified the places that lack these services, and provided a planning proposal for the establishment of four health centers and a proposal for the establishment of nine new pharmacies in the study area in specific locations using the applications of geographic information systems (GIS). The study recommended a number of recommendations, the most important was the establishment of a general hospital in the region, since the existing governmental general hospital in Tulkarem City is the only hospital in the governorate of Tulkarem, which is not subject to horizontal expansion in accordance with the planning standards and suffering from the pressure of service by up to approximately twice the currently available capabilities. In addition, the study recommended the necessity of the development of these centers in terms of their physical, administrative, human needs, and technical and medical equipment to ease pressure on the centers and provide better service to citizens. The study also recommended the rationalization of the licensing of new pharmacies in areas with a large number of pharmacies, in order to promote the opening of pharmacies in areas of need for service and to achieve more efficient spatial distribution. Finally, the study recommended the development of the database on pharmacies in the Ministry of Health in order to facilitate follow-up, supervision and planning, where the existing archive is primitive and does not achieve the minimum required level for future planning

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