Mapping spatio-temporal patterns in malaria to inform malaria control in Malawi using routinely collected health facility data

Lead Research Organisation: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Department Name: Vector Biology


Reporting of malaria data through Malawi's Health Information System (DHIS2) has been improving over recent years. Combined with climatological and environmental data from satellite imagery, this provides an opportunity to construct maps that can be continually updated to inform targeted malaria control activities.
Monthly malaria case data was downloaded from DHIS2 for 2017 - 2020. Environmental and climatological covariates were extracted from MODIS satellite imagery obtained via Google Earth Engine. Geo-statistical modelling was used to produce a series of maps.
A series of maps to describe the distribution of malaria burden across Malawi during the wet and dry season. Maps showing variation in timing of the malaria season across of Malawi. Maps identifying which areas have unexpected high or low reported malaria burden. Results from geo-statistical model showing the relative contributions of explanatory variables in dry season compared to the wet season. Maps to guide timing and location of malaria control in Malawi.
This study demonstrates how DHIS2 data can be used to identify areas of interest for malaria control and variations in optimal timing for malaria control. Timing As reporting rates within DHIS2 improve in the future, monthly updated maps could support planning of interventions and allocation of resources.


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Description Illovo Sugar Africa 
Country South Africa 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Analyzing historical malaria and meteorological data . Preparing to evaluate their Indoor Residual Spraying program for the prevention of malaria among their employees.
Collaborator Contribution Providing access to clinics, sharing of information, malaria case data and meteorological data.
Impact No formal outcomes yet, more data will be collected. Disciplines involved: Entomology, Spatial statistics, Agriculture, Public Health
Start Year 2018
Description Press coverage of our research project on using drones to identify malaria breeding sites in Malawi. This was featured on a Japanese educational tv show, in a Malawian newspaper, The Independent and on the UNICEF website. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the MRes rotation, year 1 of the award, I have travelled to Malawi with my supervisors Michelle Stanton and Chris Jones. The project took place at UNICEF's drone corridor, centred around Kasungu. UNICEF had arranged for a Japanese media team to film our activities. The story was also covered on UNICEF's website, the Independent UK, Malawian Nation, the LSTM website and several blogs. This raised awareness for the potential use of drones for humanitarian purposes, the UNICEF drone corridor and increased likelihood of funding for further research in this area. Coverage in local newspapers contributed towards understanding of the use of drones for those living near the drone corridor in Malawi. Although I featured in these stories and was photographed and filmed whilst working, I did not personally give any interviews.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018