Health, Poverty, and Place in Accra, Ghana: Mapping Neighborhoods

Journal of MapsJournal of Maps, Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2012

Gregory M. Verutes, Magdalena B. Fiocco, John R. Weeks, and Lloyd L. Coulter

“The overall objective of our research project is to understand the spatial inequality in health in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. We also utilize GIS technology to measure the association of adverse health and mortality outcomes with neighborhood ecology. We approached this in variety of ways, including multivariate analysis of imagery classification and census data. A key element in the research has been to obtain in-person interviews from 3200 female respondents in the city, and then relate health data obtained from the women to the ecology of the neighborhoods in which they live. Detailed maps are a requirement for these field-based activities. However, commercially available street maps of Accra tend to be highly generalized and not very useful for the kind of health and social science research being undertaken by this project. The purpose of this paper is to describe street maps that were created for the project’s office in downtown Accra and used to locate households of respondents. They incorporate satellite imagery with other geographic layers to provide the most important visual interpretation of the linkage between imagery and neighborhoods. Ultimately, through a detailed analysis of spatial disparities in health in Accra, Ghana, we aim to provide a model for the interpretation of urban health inequalities in cities of urbanizing and often poor countries.”