Medical geography is the study of health and how diseases are spread around the world. It aims at providing an understanding on health issues and improvement of people's health globally. To practice medicine geography, individuals must have acquired skills on the fundamentals of epidemiology and health statistics. Normally, the professionals in the field are interested in finding out the indicators of ill-health. The morbidity and mortality factors are therefore measured. Historically, people were interested in studying how a location can affect a person's health. Observations were made on the spatial distribution of diseases such as malaria and typhoid. Such studies laid a foundation for the modern medical geography. Today, the studies have made a huge contribution in the health sector.
Medical geography plays an important role when it comes to determining how diseases affected the population growth in a particular location. Such details can be use by local governments during planning and budgeting. Additionally, people who travel often can use the details to help make decisions on the type of vaccines necessary. This can further help in reduction of spread of diseases across the globe. On a broader sense, world health organizations use the information to find patterns of transmission of diseases, and hence help governments to make decisions on how to cure deadly and contagious diseases.
Maps are used to show historical outbreaks in various regions. This helps in examining the spread of diseases in a location over a given time. Though mapping using provided data can be easy, interpretation of spatially referenced data is not. In particular, it is not easy to interpret why data is distributed in a specific way. This necessitates further research and analysis. Still, cluster validation has to be done so that the distribution of data is not detected after mere chances. Hypothesis must be developed and researched so that proper statistics is used to make conclusions.
Gathering data is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the success of medical geography. Yet, it is not easy to gather data accurately because people do not always report when they are ill. Still, there may be the challenge of proper diagnosis. Further still, timely report of disease presence may not always be achieved. It is also challenging to achieve accuracy because people may choose to relocate when they fall ill. Mainly, this happens in urban settings since people tend to relocate to their home towns after they are diagnosed with a terminal disease. However, despite the challenges, the discipline is the most fascinating one in geography. It has also provided global solutions in the medical field.