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Mapping malaria risk in Africa leads to more effective malaria control

Page history last edited by Rosemary 8 years, 4 months ago

Mapping malaria risk in Africa leads to more effective malaria control

Dedicated African scientists have helped to collect data on malaria that was in danger of being lost and to provide an atlas of malaria in Africa that will allow rational and targeted implementation of malaria control across the continent. Before they began their work, detailed mapping of malaria risk and endemicity had never been done in Africa, and accurate estimates of malaria at regional or district levels remained largely unknown, making it impossible to rationalize allocation of limited resources for malaria control.

Sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest per capita burden of disease in the world, and malaria is the single most important cause. Of global deaths attributed to malaria, 90% occur in sub-Saharan Africa. While recent advances in public health offer new opportunities to reduce the disease burden significantly, many factors - especially endemicity - affect the choice of control methods.

The MARA/ARMA (Mapping malaria risk in Africa) collaboration was begun in 1999 to provide an atlas of malaria for Africa. A group of dedicated African scientists, based at institutions across Africa, worked co-operatively towards achieving the overall objectives of mapping malaria risk in Africa, providing information to national and international decision-makers, and developing a capacity in malaria/health GIS.

Through their collaboration, more than 10 000 data points were collected from published and unpublished sources, through literature searches and country visits. The collated data base alone represents decades of malaria research in Africa, much of which was on the verge of being lost and forgotten, and certainly not being used.

MARA/ARMA has provided the first continental maps of malaria distribution and the first evidence-base burden of disease estimates. Most major documents on malaria in Africa now use MARA maps and its BOD figures are now universally used. The Eco-System and Health Analysis Workshop in West Africa produced the first sub-continental malaria transmission risk map in 1999.

MARA/ARMA has made significant steps forward in the geographical modelling of malaria using eco-physiological / climate / GIS (geographical information systems), as well as spatial statistical approaches. MARA/ARMA maps and data allow: appropriate selection of malaria control tools for different settings; a baseline estimate of at-risk or infected people to plan interventions and assessment studies; identification of high-priority areas); rational budgeting (eg. how many cases of malaria can be expected per administrative area); proper timing (eg. when in the year do bed-nets need to be insecticide-treated); and empirical assessment of control interventions (eg. how many people need to be surveyed to demonstrate a certain reduction in malaria).

 

For other stories about malaria, see:

Hedge funds do business against malaria

Cross-border cooperation reduces malaria risk in southern Africa

Malaria Vaccine Initiative works to provide hope for saving lives

Sri Lanka is close to eliminating malaria as a deadly scourge

Ground-breaking malaria findings may aid drug, vaccine development

MalariaEngage hopes social networking will bring funds to African researchers

Cell phone can monitor HIV and malaria patients, test water quality

High speed computer networks kickstart new anti-malarial drug development

Mobile phones and FrontLineSMS help contain malaria in Cambodia

Health care by mobile phone helps parents save childrens’ lives in Congo

New global map shows where malaria could be better controlled, or eliminated

Leaders of Africa’s faith communities work together to prevent malaria deaths

Malaria's bitter pill made sweeter for children

Cheap and simple community-based measures save childrens' lives worldwide

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