These new maps point to the power of 'precision public health'

Simon Hay, director of the Local Burden of Disease Study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Seattle. Photo by: University of Washington

SAN FRANCISCO — Last week, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation published two studies revealing health and education disparities on the African continent.

What is significant about these studies is not only the results, but also the process that was used to arrive at them, known as “precision mapping.” With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IHME is mapping a range of global health metrics using 5x5 kilometer units. Whereas national or provincial maps can hide inequality at the community level, these local maps provide stakeholders with better information on where to direct resources.

In an email interview, Devex asked Simon Hay, director of the Local Burden of Disease Study at IHME at the University of Washington in Seattle, to explain the connection between precision public health and sustainable global development.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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    Catherine Cheney

    Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported from all over the world, and freelanced for outlets including the Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the West Coast ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that trains and connects journalists to cover responses to problems.