Application of Geographic Information Systems in the Study of COVID-19 in Morocco
Haisoufi Driss1, *, Bouaiti El arbi1
The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first identified as a respiratory disease that originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020. Morocco reported its first coronavirus case on 2 March 2020. During the week of 9-15 March 2020, Morocco took steps to limit the spread of the epidemic. This article describes the use of spatial data applications in epidemiological research in Morocco, specifically its response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
To conduct this study, we relied on the use and analysis of data provided by the Moroccan Ministry of Health for the study period from May to July 2021, as well as the geographical and administrative map of the Kingdom of Morocco. Spatial analysis of COVID-19 was performed using ArcGIS 10.8 and QGIS, a geographic information processing software. Health data for the 12 regions of the Moroccan territory were presented in the number of COVID-19 cases as a discrete quantitative variable and over time as a continuous time variable.
According to a map created using GIS, the concentration of COVID-19 cases appeared to be highest in the Casablanca Settat region. Depending on the number of documented COVID-19 cases, regions were ranked as follows: Casablanca-Settat> Rabat-Sale-Kenitra> Marrakech-Safi > Fes-Meknes > Tangier-Tetouan-Alhouceima>Oriental>Souss-Massa > Béni Mellal-Khenifra> Draa-Tafilalet> Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra >Guelmim-Oued Noun > Dakhla-Oued Eddahab. The increase in cases in major cities was due to several factors, including demographic, social and environmental factors. This demonstrated the need to consider demographic contributions to environmental health. Demographic factors helped us understand the health of our environment empirically. Geography improved health decision-making and accountability. Incorporating the geographic context of the spread of COVID-19 helped decision-makers understand the impact of location on strategies and goals to combat this pandemic.
This study identified areas with high and low COVID-19 clusters and hotspots. The produced maps can serve as an excellent management tool to control and effectively eliminate the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to investments in epidemiological surveillance programs.
* Address correspondence to this author at the Laboratory of Biostatistics, Clinical Research and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rabat, Mohammed V University, Morocco; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org