Arch Hellen Med, 33(1), January-February 2016, 55-63
GIS as a useful tool in public health policy during the austerity period
E. Melidoniotis,1 D. Sifaki-Pistolla,2 N. Tzanakis3
OBJECTIVE To present selected applications of geographical information systems (GIS) that could be useful in terms of cost and quality effectiveness for health policy making. Fatal road accidents (FRA) in the region of Crete were used for the application of spatio-temporal statistics and prediction models. Fatal road accidents were selected as an example because they are a major public health problem worldwide, that presenting a dramatic increase during times of economic crisis.
METHOD A spatio-temporal study was made using primary data from the database of the National Emergency Center for the period 2001–2012, after securing the relevant permission. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20.0 and the Arc map 10 were used for the analysis (conventional and spatial statistics) with a level of significance of 0.05.
RESULTS A greater number of FRA occurred in the densely populated regions in and near the county capitals, mainly Heraklion and Chania. The coastal road axis of the southern parts of the counties accumulated a greater number of FRA, particularly during the months of June, August and September. The general incidence rate of FRA was 610.9/100,000. The expected number of FRA per 50 km2 is higher in the municipalities of Heraklion and Platania (5.5/50 km2) and lower in the municipalities of Kandanou (0.0001/50 km2) and Viannou (0.008/50 km2).
CONCLUSIONS FRA present a steadily increasing trend in the region of Crete (decrease of cars in use – increase in FRA). The use of GIS and specifically the findings of the present study could make a significant contribution to the management of FRA and increase the safety of users of the road system.
Key words: Economic crisis, Fatal road accidents, GIS, Prevention.