Knapp, C., Mumm, R., Skaal, L., Wittwer-Backofen, U. (2018). Assessing Urban Health Data: A Case Study of Maternal and Child Health Data in Cape Town, South Africa. In: Winchester, M., Knapp, C., BeLue, R. (eds) Global Health Collaboration. SpringerBriefs in Public Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77685-9_7
In 2016, a group of interdisciplinary collaborators from South Africa and Germany met to plan and execute a comprehensive review of the available data and literature on several topics of urban health in South Africa. These topics included environmental health, mental health, palliative care, and maternal and child health. The objective of the project was to understand the available data for urban health, which can inform academics, government, and non-governmental organizations about maternal, and child health in urban areas from a view of researchers in the study area and familiar to their environment as well as from an external view of researchers from different cultures and with different experiences.
This chapter focuses on the experiences related to maternal and child health; experiences for Although our exercise of collecting small scale urban health data was done to understand the situation in South Africa, it could be applied to any setting in a low, middle, or high-income country. It is clear that while maternal and child health data exist for urban settings, there is a need for the data to be better organized, standardized, more comprehensive, and be easy to use across disciplines. This situation is in no way unique to urban South Africa, in fact in many countries around the world data may not exist or may exist in an even more reduced form. However, the focus on South Africa provides a good understanding on what is and what could be about the most basic step of urban health informatics: structured/linked data.