Mosquitoes populations modelling for early warning system and rapid response public by health authorities correlating climate, weather and spatial-tem

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction

Abstract

As a result of the recent climate changes, mosquito-borne diseases (like Zika, dengue) are becoming endemic not only in sub-tropical regions of Africa and Latin America but in other parts of the world. This project will combine public health, mobile technology and climate modelling to evaluate the impacts of environmental changes on water providing breeding habitats for mosquitoes in Northeast Brazil. We aim to develop a series of spatial-temporal models to predict the burden of mosquito populations by deploying cutting-edge mobile and internet of things (IoT) technology leveraging multiple data sources from newly acquired climate, weather, mosquito surveillance, water and sanitation and socioeconomic data. This technology will include the use of mobile surveillance apps using gamification and citizen science technology co-developed with local stakeholders for reporting locations of water breeding points in Brazil. We will develop a data-driven early warning system to predict changes in occurrence and abundance of mosquito breeding points. This real-time system will alert public health and environmental authorities to mobilise community engagement for the prevention and rapid response to vector outbreaks. We will also develop educational content for public and community stakeholders to increase awareness of mosquito breeding habitats and water management. With public health stakeholders (WHO and Recife City Hall), we will co-develop community engagement strategies and evidence-based policies to improve standing water management and treatment. Most importantly, building on existing partnerships in the provinces in Northeast Brazil, where mosquito-borne diseases are endemic, we will work with academics and local stakeholder partners from Recife, Olinda and Campina Grande, and have a unique access to mosquito surveillance data to calibrate our predictive models in real-time via mobile app and IoT devices. Access to real-time datasets will not only provide a unique method for calibrating the predictive modelling results ? but also will put us in a position to evaluate the entire early-warning decision-support dashboard system with the authorities during their standard daily operations to ensure outstanding real-world impact on vector surveillance and public health policy. It is absolutely unique for a research project to have the opportunity to validate the research in the timeframe of the project while directly translating the results to public health authorities, policy makers, WHO, and stakeholders in Brazil, Turkey and other countries where vector-borne disease are soon to become endemic.

Planned Impact

The research will have broader impact beyond the scope of academia. The primary beneficiaries of the project will be the Brazilian environmental health agents and fieldworkers involved with both data collection and surveillance of mosquitoes during and post-project. These key players are the pillars of the Brazilian public health system, both for their role as a means to give people access to the primary health care level, dealing with low-complexity disease treatments, as well as applying strategies for epidemic and entomologic vector control in endemic areas. They are also the individuals who have acquired local ground knowledge of the areas they routinely work at, as well as know the people they help in events of mosquito-borne disease outbreak in order to respond rapidly. Their training will enhance their knowledge on controlling mosquito-borne disease outbreaks such as Zika and Dengue viruses for instance and, in turn, will empower them through the integration of mobile technology in their control strategies. The second beneficiaries are the public health experts and local as well as national governments who will have access to geographical information in a form of GIS Dashboard which will show the results to users in real-time to improve strategies to vector control as well as to plan rapid and pre- emptive responses accordingly in order to prevent such outcomes in vulnerable communities.
Brazilian public health officials and stakeholders will benefit - engaging key stakeholders is essential and so this project will build on its existing and fruitful collaboration with a network of stakeholders and beneficiaries. Firstly, we work with the public health experts of the municipal health secretaries of Recife, Campina Grande, and Olinda, and the health secretary of the State of Pernambuco, Brazil. The researchers of the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, will work with serious games and gamification design, participatory game design, geographic information systems, and epidemics. The researchers of UK, Turkey and Sao Paulo have close links with surveillance and early working experts that work with Brazilian Ministry of Health and are in collaboration with WHO PAHO experts on Zika and vector disease management and the national IHR focal point in Brazil. These parties will be invited to join the Advisory Board for the project to provide senior medical expertise, policy advice at regional and national level in Brazil and international level priority settings and future network of collaborators for follow-up initiatives. End users who are the community health and environmental fieldworkers will be involved as the key stakeholder group throughout the project from prioritise the settings, co-authoring the apps, testing and evaluation and its launch.
As part of this project's agenda for impact in terms of wider outreach and dissemination to stakeholders - the consortium will regularly updated portal (or website) for posting news and resources. The results importantly will be fed back and discussed with stakeholders at district, provincial and national level in the North East of Brazil through meetings and workshops in order to inform policy and future plans for mosquito and vector control. On a national level - in this context, the key stakeholder system is the Government of Brazil and it environmental and public health ministries. Secondary stakeholders include bilateral and multilaterals (WHO, UNICEF, WFP), global health academic champions, and international NGOs. At a district and community level - we have already taking steps to make arrangements for formal and informal meetings, as well as summer schools with district level stakeholders and community health workers in Sao Paulo, Recife, Campina Grande and Olinda. At district level, involvement of the District Public Health Offices in the study areas (i.e. Recife, Campina Grande & Olinda) will be essential for the project's implementation

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