Landscapes of healthcare utilization during a dengue fever outbreak in an urban environment of Colombia


The well-being of a population and its health are influenced by a myriad of socioeconomic and environmental factors that interact across a wide range of scales, from the individual to the national and global levels. One of these factors is the provision of health services, which is regulated by both demand and supply. Although an adequate provision can significantly improve health outcomes of a population, lopsided flow of patients to specific health centers can result in serious disparities and potentially delay the timeliness of a diagnosis. In this paper, utilization patterns during an epidemic of dengue fever in the city of Cali, Colombia for the year 2010 are investigated. Specifically, the objectives are to (1) identify health facilities that exhibit patterns of over- and underutilization, (2) determine where patients who are being diagnosed at a particular facility originate from, and (3) whether patients are traveling to their closest facility and hence (4) estimate how far patients are willing to travel to be diagnosed and treated for dengue fever. Analysis is further decomposed by age group and by gender, in an attempt to test whether utilization patterns drastically change according to these variables. Answers to these questions can help health authorities plan for future epidemics, for instance, by providing guidelines as to which facilities require more resources and by improving the organization of health prevention campaigns to direct population seeking health assistance to use facilities that are underutilized.

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Casas, I., Delmelle, E. Landscapes of healthcare utilization during a dengue fever outbreak in an urban environment of Colombia. Environ Monit Assess 191, 279 (2019) doi:10.1007/s10661-019-7415-2

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  • Access
  • Dengue fever
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Healthcare utilization