Improving access to public health services and facilities requires us to understand how populations are distributed and how this changes over time.

This information is important for understanding where people may lack sufficient access to public health services and where best to locate public health services and infrastructure to best facilitate greater access.

Traditional sources of data, such as censuses and surveys, provide useful snapshots of how a population is distributed but, even when projected forwards using estimated population growth rates, will not fully capture change in population distributions over time. Furthermore, these sources of data are more likely to be outdated, incomplete or otherwise unsuitable in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) where access to healthcare is a particular priority.

CDR data can provide important insights to support a range of different public health decisions, particularly those associated with the optimal placement of public health infrastructure.

This could include the placement of sanitation infrastructure, vaccination sites, information campaigns, or environmental surveillance for infectious diseases, such as cholera or polio.

The dynamic and up-to-date picture that CDRs can generate is particularly useful when population movements, such as seasonal or long-term migration, cause fluctuations in the demands on public health infrastructure and services. This may be especially important if people with high mobility are also those most likely to lack access to public health services.