Development of a hexagonal, mesh-based distribution method for community health centres

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Yinan Zhou
Ge Bai
Li Luo *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Li Luo | liluo@fudan.edu.cn

Abstract

Community health centres (CHCs) are the health gatekeepers of the local population. Location and numbers of the CHCs affect fairness and effectiveness with regard to access to primary health care. In the past, the distribution of the CHCs was solely empiric-based. The goal of this study was to devise a method for CHC distribution based on the principle of improving equity as well as ensuring efficiency. We tested the effectiveness and operability of the method through a process of revision and simulation using Guangdong Province, China as sample district. A methodology based on literature review and expert consultation was repeatedly applied until an ideal result had been reached. A hexagonal, mesh-based method was developed and used to find a solution where the CHCs could be distributed where their location would be the most needed and total number suitable. Testing the effectiveness of the proposed plan, we found the proportion of area covered to be 52.8% and the proportion of the population covered 80.7%, which is 15.4% and 14.7%, respectively, better than before. It was concluded that the hexagonal mesh-based, distribution method can effectively define the location as well as the number or required CHCs, not only improving the accessibility for residents to primary health care services but also maximizing cost-effectiveness. Management of the city by grid is a new idea in urban management, which improves rationality of planning and also may be applied for many different purposes in addition to CHC localization.


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