Research by geographers at the University of Lincoln on Zambia’s malaria control strategy, helped explain why malaria has not responded to public health interventions in large areas of the country. This has highlighted the need for additional, environmentally tailored, mosquito-control strategies in some areas to achieve their national target for elimination of this disease.
Controlling the mosquitoes that transmit malaria (vectors) is one of the main ways to prevent and reduce the disease. In some areas of Zambia, such as Western Province these interventions have not led to reductions.
University of Lincoln geographers investigated the relationship between environment and transmission. They combined field data in wet and dry seasons, genetic sequencing of mosquitoes and climate-transmission modelling.
The research found significant levels of transmission is by secondary malaria vectors. This provided an explanation for the continued high prevalence of malaria in the Western Province and has important consequences for future vector control by the Ministry of Health.
The research was the first to determine that flooding extends transmission through secondary vector species; a key aspect that had not previously been considered, leaving a significant gap in malaria prevention strategies.
Source data, field results and analyses generated by research was freely shared to project partners as a ‘knowledge platform’ and formed the basis for new, spatial, approaches to health priorities in the Western Province beyond malaria.
Institution: University of Lincoln
Researchers: Professor Christopher Thomas, Professor Mark Macklin