Dasman Diabetes Institute hosts Geospatial Health Workshop

Associate Professor Neil Coffee from the University of Canberra (UC), Australia and Dr. Saad Alsharrah from Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI), which was founded by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) ran a one-day intensive workshop in GeoHealth on the 25 November, 2018.

The workshop, which was held at DDI, introduced basic principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the application for researching the associations between health and place. Participants at the workshop were selected from the Public Authority of Civil Information (PACI), Kuwait University, Ministry of Health, Public Authority for Food and Nutrition (PAFN) and DDI.  The program for the day included two lectures and two practical sessions where all 20 participants were provided with a computer for hands-on practical applications of GIS to health.

The workshop had three main aims:

• To provide a networking opportunity for professionals and researchers interested in health and place;
• Guided practical experience in applying GIS to problem-solving; and
• Details of the DDI-UC GeoHealth Initiative.

The DDI-UC are building a GeoHealth Lab to develop knowledge and understanding of the spatial associations of the diabetes epidemic in Kuwait.  DDI-UC GeoHealth Initiative was recently signed by both parties and will run for the next three and a half years.  Aims of the initiative include GIS infrastructure (GeoHealth Lab) which will be used to identify and integrate data on behaviour, lifestyle and the built environment to investigate the spatial variations in the prevalence of diabetes in Kuwait and characterise the magnitude and the extent of the problem.  Over the course of the project, the GeoHealth Lab and analysis will be used to plan, implement and evaluate diabetes prevention and develop initiatives based on evidence-based geospatial inference to support tailored intervention and treatment programs.