Supporting Universal Health Coverage by modelling physical accessibility to health care


AccessMod 5 is a World Health Organization (WHO) tool, and previous versions have been developed thanks to the support of the WHO Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing (WHO/HIS/HGF), the University of Geneva/Institute for Environmental Sciences/EnviroSPACE Lab, the AeHIN GIS Lab, the WHO eHealth unit (WHO/IER/KMS/EHL), the WHO department of Making Pregnancy Safer (WHO/FCH/MPS), the GEOmatics for Informed DEcisions (GEOIDE) Networks of Centres of Excellence, the Faculty of Medicine/University of Sherbrooke, and the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences/RMIT University/Melbourne.

Since May 2018, UNICEF is contributing to the maintenance of AccessMod 5 and the development of new functionalities.

The license attached to AccessMod 5 is the GNU GPL V3. However, there is an additional WHO “TERMS OF USE AND SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT” that you must agree to in order to use AccessMod 5.0. Please read this document carefully when downloading AccessMod.

This website is about the AccessMod project, which is broader than the AccessMod tool as it also includes its many applications, academic works, teaching material, articles/reports by University of Geneva, AeHIN GIS Lab, and other authors, etc.


The process

AccessMod (version 5) is a free and open-source standalone software to model how physically accessible existing health services are to the target population, to estimate the part of the target population that would not receive care despite being physically accessible due to shortage of capacity in these services (human or equipment), to measure referral times and distances between health facilities, and to identify where to place new health facilities to increase population coverage through the scaling up analysis.


Step 1


Use your favorite GIS software and spreadsheet to prepare your geospatial and tabular data

The tools

AccessMod 5 is composed of five main tools

Accessibility analysis

Compute the traveling time surface, informing the time needed to reach the nearest health facility

Geographic coverage analysis

Take into account the coverage capacity of each health facility to estimate the part of the target population that would not receive care despite being physically accessible

Referral analysis

Calculate travelling times and distances separating different types of health facilities

Zonal Statistics

Obtain the percentage of the population being covered in each sub national division

Scaling up analysis

Identify the optimum location for building new health facilities



The code of AccessMod is based on several open source libraries and tools (e.g. GRASS, gdal, R, shiny), packaged in a virtual machine, which makes it easy to use and install on any desktop computer, without worrying about dependencies and configurations, license fees or operating system (AccessMod 5.0 can run under Windows, Mac, Linux,..). The graphical user interface of AccessMod is accessed through you web browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox).


To run AccessMod, you first need to install the free virtual machine manager VirtualBox. Refer to the user manual for further installation instructions.

Download the user manual, tutorial and sample data, ver. 5.6.0
English, French (10 MB, zip)

Version 5.6.0

The user manual and tutorial contains all you need to get started and master AccessMod through step-by-step exercises using the provided sample data sets

(older versions:


Access the online user manual and tutorial

in English

in French

Version 5.6.0

VirtualBox file that can be run on Windows, Mac, and Linux if
VirtualBox is installed

(older versions: 5.0.7,

Visit the VirtualBox website to get the latest version of the software for your operating system




© 2020 AccessMod