The relationship between environmental factors and child health is not well understood in rural Pakistan. This study characterized the environmental factors related to the morbidity of acute respiratory infections (ARIs), diarrhea, and growth using geographical information systems (GIS) technology. Anthropometric, address and disease prevalence data were collected through the SEEM (Study of Environmental Enteropathy and Malnutrition) study in Matiari, Pakistan. Publicly available map data were used to compile coordinates of healthcare facilities. A Pearson correlation coefficient (r) was used to calculate the correlation between distance from healthcare facilities and participant growth and morbidity. Other continuous variables influencing these outcomes were analyzed using a random forest regression model. In this study of 416 children, we found that participants living closer to secondary hospitals had a lower prevalence of ARI (r = 0.154, p < 0.010) and diarrhea (r = 0.228, p < 0.001) as well as participants living closer to Maternal Health Centers (MHCs): ARI (r = 0.185, p < 0.002) and diarrhea (r = 0.223, p < 0.001) compared to those living near primary facilities. Our random forest model showed that distance has high variable importance in the context of disease prevalence. Our results indicated that participants closer to more basic healthcare facilities reported a higher prevalence of both diarrhea and ARI than those near more urban facilities, highlighting potential public policy gaps in ameliorating rural health.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2021|
- Acute respiratory infections
- Geographic information systems