Ebola epidemic (update)

As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa”. Since the first map series published here in August, an additional 5367 cases and 2294 deaths have occurred, resulting in a total case count of 7492 and a total number of deaths of 3439 for the current outbreak according to the most recent updated published on October, 3rd. These significant changes change the shapes of the cartograms published six weeks ago, not least because the current outbreak exceeds all previous Ebola cases counted since 1977, as the following maps show using the most recent data:

Cartogram visualisations of Ebola virus cases
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Ebola Outbreak

The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has not been brought under control since it became part of international attention early 2014. As of 15 August the suspected and confirmed cases added up to 2127, leading to 1145 deaths in the region (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The outbreak is not only unusual in its absolute numbers of cases and deaths (before the current outbreak a total of 2387 cases and 1590 deaths have been recorded by the World Health Organization since the virus was discovered in 1976), but also in its geographical patterns: While WHO obervations in the past mainly occurred in the tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (affecting mainly Congo, DR Congo, Gabon, Sudan and Uganda), the current and by far largest outbreak is observed in the previously unaffected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and (less servere) Nigeria). The following map shows not only that Ebola is restricted to Africa, but to a very small part of the continent. It shows the countries of the world resized in a Worldmapper-style cartogram according to the total number of cases in each country in 2014 (to date):Map of the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - total cases as of August, 14thTo put the outbreak into further context, the following maps show the death counts of all Ebola outbreaks to date, as well as two split maps of deaths in 2014 and pre-2014: Continue reading

A mapping sequence for malaria and mosquito nets in Africa

Roll Back MalariaThe upcoming annual World Malaria Day on the 25th of April is one of the most visible international activities to tackle the problem of a disease that today is mainly a problem on the African continent. Beyond that day, activists from public sector as well as from many private organisations have regular meetings to find solutions for a disease that UNICEF describes as both preventable and curable. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities: London’s Health Inequalities

London is a special city, London is incredibly diverse and London has its own unique health problems. In 2012 the London Deanery, in partnership with the British Medical Association, is hosting a series of seminars that look to provide […] an opportunity to debate some of the key healthcare issues that face the capital in 2012.” This extract from the announcement of the Metropolitan Medicine 2012 seminar series highlights the need to take a closer look at London’s position within the United Kingdom, as the challenges that the city faces are probably not different, but certainly unique to the problems that currently exist in the health sector of the country.
A tale of two cities: London’s health inequalities was the title of my contribution to the seminar series. In my presentation I highlighted some of the problems that are part of that issue, explaining how social and health inequalities are inevitably intertwined. London is unique in the social landscape, but also part of the processes that shape the UK, which I demonstrated in a series of maps in my slides that accompanied my talk: Continue reading

Inequalities in Immunisation

Save the Children Report CoverGlobal inequalities in health find their expression in a wide range of issues that start in the very early ages of a person’s life. Children are most at risk, as health-related problems can have implications on the rest of their life – if they survive childhood at all. Finding the Final Fifth: Inequalities in Immunisation is the title of a new report published by Save the Children in partnership with ACTION and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.
The report takes a closer look at health inequalities related to immunisation coverage. With children being highly vulnerable, no access to immunisation is one of the preventable causes of death. Further efforts such as the Global Vaccine Action Plan (pdf) are needed to tackle the problem. “Reaching the hard-to-reach must be a priority for all countries“, concludes Save the Children in a statement prior to the 65th World Health Assembly where these issues were on the agenda.
The Worldmapper project contributed a cartogram series to the report, looking at some of the data that Save the Children used in its findings. The data shows how access to health and immunisation compares to mortality rates of children and how this data gives an indication of the prevailing global inequalities. We created four maps, of which three were included in the report (the following maps are modified version of these maps). All of the maps show the countries resized according to the total number of people for each topic that is visualised (i.e. these images work like a cartographic version of a pie chart). The original data sources are given in the report (download link see below). The first map shows the mortality of under-five year old children:

Cartogram / Map of Child Mortality under the Age of Five in the World
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57 million deaths

People are dying all the time. Wars are just one of the many causes of death, but certainly one of the more avoidable ones. WHO’s Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study is the key publication containing global health statistics which can help to understand the relevance of geography in relation to the mortality patterns and the prevalence of certain diseases. Continue reading