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Dissemination of Comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping among Most-at-Risk Populations

The Flagship team and NCHADS organize the PEPFAR-USAID sponsored launching event on the Comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping among Most-at-Risk Populations (MARPs) at the Green Palace Hotel on 28 May 2014. Approximately, 80 officials from the Flagship partners and non-partners in Phnom Penh and provinces, and from the operational district and provincial health office representatives from provinces of Banteay Meanchey,  Kampong Cham, Siem Reap and Sihanouk.

During the introduction to the launch, Dr. Oum Sopheap, KHANA Executive Director and in the name of the Flagship partners, said it took almost eleven months to achieve a comprehensive GIS mapping and it is the initial report in Cambodia, illustrating specific information at the operational district level on the number and locations of the most-at-risk populations.

Mr. Nhim Dalen, a flagship team member, presents the key findings of comprehensive GIS mapping of MARPs.  Therein, the presentation illustrates data of MARPs and their locations. “GIS provides information on entertainment locations, classifications and data of MARPs (entertainment workers, men who have sex with men, transgender, people who use drug and people who inject drug), and  map the health and non-health locations and locations where MARPs may have access to condoms.

The 2013 Atlas on Comprehensive GIS Mapping of Most-at-Risk Populations is also printed and presented during the launch. Mr.  Rin Channara, a flagship member, presents the electronic GIS map and explains how to read it.

Dr. Sok Bunna, technical team leader for HIV/AIDS of the Office of Public Health and Education and a representative of USAID said the GIS map provides addictive value to the existing programmatic coverage and gaps. The report also presents service delivery points, condoms accessibility and high-risk locals. 

However, Dr. Bunna said the availability of GIS information requires protection. “The implementers must be cautious to protect the information about the communities we serve and securely disclose the data to only implementers of HIV prevention programs,” Bunna said. “The information is sensitive and could be used for negative sequences contrary to our public health goal,” he added.

During the plenary discussions, GIS flagship members confirm that sensitive data are removed from the electronic GIS, especially data of drug users.

During the closing remarks, H.E. Dr. Mean Chhivun, NCHADS Director, said he appreciates the results of GIS mapping; however, he added that implementers should be watchful as GIS mapping contains sensitive information. “The state security forces probably have had detailed information on drug users, but data should not come from our GIS mapping,” Dr. Chhivun added.

By Mey Sovannara

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