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  1. Chris Wright
  2. Supply chain and logistics
  3. Thursday, 15 December 2016

When it comes to medical supplies, transport challenges can add up to serious gaps in health care for rural people. That’s why John Snow, Inc., through the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT partnered with Medical Stores Department (MSD) in Tanzania to map more than 30,000 kilometers of road connecting more than 5,600 health facilities across the country.

The USAID | DELIVER PROJECT, which partners with government health ministries and other organizations to improve health in developing countries by increasing access to health supplies, was asked by the Government of Tanzania in 2014 to help improve how it delivered health care supplies. Almost half the roads in Tanzania were not online, making medical supply delivery unpredictable and unreliable.

To improve the system, we collaborated with MSD to analyze delivery routes and available transport resources. Although MSD had a comprehensive list of facilities across the country, about 30 percent did not have a validated geocode, making them difficult to find unless you asked a local person how to get there!

While a digital map of Tanzania’s road network existed, it was incomplete. Truck drivers trying to get supplies from MSD to faraway clinics did not know if the route they chose was reliable or how much time a route would take to navigate.

Using GPS data from devices recently installed on MSD trucks, our team was able to mark the unmapped secondary road network showing what routes were navigable across the entire country.

We joined forces with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, a global community of mappers, and Ramani Huria, a community mapping group in Dar es Salaam, to upload the Tanzania data area-by-area, making it accessible to everyone around the globe.

Now, this digital map can be used not just by those delivering medical supplies, but also by food producers transporting crops to market, tour operators showcasing Tanzania’s spectacular wildlife, and others engaged in commerce who are driving Tanzania’s economic growth and development.

Read more here:Getting from A to B Gets Easier with New Mapping Open Data

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