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Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa
Institution: Roll Back Malaria Initiative
International Development Research Centre
Multilateral Initiative on Malaria
South African Medical Research Council
Swiss Tropical Institute
Theme: Institution and HR Management
Implementation Date: Oct 07, 2002
Summary: Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in Africa. Ninety per cent of the global deaths attributed to malaria occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Detailed mapping of malaria risk and endemicity has never been done in Africa. Accurate estimates of the burden of malaria at the regional or district level remain largely unknown. In the absence of such data, it is impossible to rationalize the allocation of limited resources for malaria control. The project, Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa/Atlas du risque de la malaria en Afrique (MARA/ARMA), seeks to use ICTs to combat the disease.

The heart of the MARA programme is a massive information collection and database project that to date has over 10,000 data points that have been collected from published and unpublished sources through literature searches and country visits. It represents decades of malaria research in Africa, much of which was on the verge of being lost and forgotten and which certainly was not being used.

MARA has provided the first continental maps of malaria distribution and the first evidence-based burden of disease estimates.

Impact: MARA is at the cutting edge of, and has made significant steps forward in, the geographical modelling of malaria using Geographical Information Systems (GISs) as well as spatial statistical approaches.
This project has published and regularly updated a large collection of maps demonstrating the endemicity, density and seasonality of malarial infections. Some 3,000 poster-sized maps of malaria models and population distribution were produced and sent to malaria control programmes, departments of health and research institutions in all endemic countries.

A CD-ROM has also been developed as a user-friendly tool designed to access products of the MARA project. The tool was developed and produced within the Malaria Research Programme of the South African Medical Research Council, which operates as the main MARA investigating centre. The CD-ROM enables African researchers to access up-to-date, accurate information efficiently and make better-informed decisions in allocating their scarce financial resources.

Source: IDRC
Project Home URL: http://www.mara.org.za/

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