Mapping health services | Big Bold Cities

Mapping health services

Poner información fundamental en manos de los adolescentes

three colored squaresMapping health services

Innovation    

The Buenos Aires health ministry partnered with the Fundación HuéspedHuesped Foundation to improvedevelop an interactive map, #Dónde (Where), that helps users find sexual and reproductive health resources based on their location. The site is powered by open data and it was developed and rolled out in partnership with a wide array of public and private entities. It also collects feedback from users to facilitate reporting on the quality and equity of health services.

Democratic Challenge  

Government information is often inaccessible or inscrutable, particularly for youth and other marginalized populations. This makes it difficult for people to connect with the services they need, and it can hide inequities in service across neighborhoods or populations. In Buenos Aires, the gap between information and engagement creates very real challenges for public-health officials trying to decrease rates of HIV infection and teen pregnancy.

How Did They Do It?   

In 2016, as part of its participation in the Open Government Partnership Local Program, the city focused one of its commitments on teen sexual and reproductive health. It pledged to open information about available services and create effective reporting mechanisms, so that health authorities and civil society organizations can diagnose deficiencies in service provision. The two-part commitment includes:

  • Creation or maintenance of a platform with a geolocalized map of providers of various sexual and reproductive health services (designed for teens); and

A reporting and qualification mechanism that will allow civil society to monitor the government’s compliance with its obligations to children and adolescents and, for the health authorities, provide a diagnostic tool on service provision.

The Buenos Aires Health Ministry partnered with the Fundación HuéspedHuesped Foundation, a natregional public-health organization based in Argentina. Together they developed #Dónde (Where), an interactive online map that helps users find sexual and reproductive health resources based on their location or search terms. Users can also suggest new locations and evaluate services through a short survey.

Fundación Huéesped Executive Director Leandro Cahn told Big Bold Cities that his organization has been working with city governments on different open-source initiatives since 2013.

“Some of the collaborative work that we have done aims to transform the contents of a PDF document which is difficult to access, particularly for the youth, into an accessible application that can point to the nearest places, to improve access to services,” Cahn said. “Our work is precisely to ensure that with access to open data and new applications, people can find more effective ways of completing their tasks.”

#Dónde users don’t need to download an app—the tool opens in any browser with an internet connection. It was rolled out in stages: version one, created with the City of Buenos Aires’ open government and e-government teams, featured locators for condom delivery stations and HIV testing centers. Later versions added data for vaccination locations, infectious-disease centers, safe abortion and contraception access.

The list of project partners and data providers has also grown. Early on, the national Ministry of Social Development, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, the Center for the Study of State and Society, and UNICEF supported the development of new features and helped market the site. More recently, #Dónde has partnered with a diverse set of organizations including advocates for adolescent health, Catholic movements, and Amnesty International. The site’s acknowledgements list four national offices and four Buenos Aires city agencies, along with provincial health agencies, international donors, reproductive-rights groups and feminist health groups.

“One of the philosophies that guides our work has to do with considering the different needs of people and trying to generate actions that can satisfy these needs,” Dr. Fabian Edgardo Portnoy, coordinator of sexual health, AIDS and STI at the Buenos Aires Ministry of Health, told Big Bold Cities.

Some of the collaborative work that we have done aims to transform the contents of a PDF document which is difficult to access, particularly for the youth, into an accessible application that can point to the nearest places, to improve access to services… Our work is precisely to ensure that with access to open data and new applications, people can find more effective ways of completing their tasks.

Leonard Cahn, Executive Director, Huesped

 

How Is It Going?   

#Dónde includes some 108,000 health-care outlets. It has been scaled nationally and is now available in Buenos Aires and the 23 provinces including more than 100,020 other towns and provinces.

Fundacióon Huéesped has launched another search tool on its main website, to locate services for trans people.

Based on #Dónde, Fundación Huésped has worked with the International Planned Parenthood Federation - Western Hemisphere Region and launched VAMOS, a webapp and app for Android with an interactive map for 30 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean and online counseling on sexual and reproductive health.

Innovation Point of Contact

Betiana Caceres
Coordinator of Digital Innovation Lab
Fundación Huésped

Who Else Is Trying This

Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Open Data Labs Jakarta teamed up with GeRAK Aceh, the USAID Kinerja program and the municipal information commission in Banda Aceh to open strategic data sets in a way that would engage residents in oversight and policymaking. They picked education as a focus area, and interviewed civil society organizations to identify key priorities in that sector. The education department agreed to release 16 data sets, and the civil society groups received training on how to analyze and visualize the data. The groups presented their findings and recommendations in a public setting, allowing for informed two-way dialogue with policymakers.

Glendale, Arizona

Glendale wanted to release data in a way that would directly serve a real need in the community. With the help of Sunlight Foundation, the city analyzed public-records requests and found that an overwhelming majority were related to building safety and code compliance. They interviewed requesters and developed three distinct ‘personas’ to capture the most common use cases: real-estate professionals, real-estate developers and residents.