World Malaria Day: What’s Climate Got To Do With It?

Today, April 25, marks the commemoration of World Malaria Day, instituted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States in 2007 as an annual “occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.”

Climate is one of many variables that influence where and when malaria outbreaks occur. The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, which is a WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre for Early Warning Systems for Malaria and Other Climate Sensitive Diseases, has been working for over a decade to better understand the relationship between malaria and climate, with the intent of applying this research into malaria prevention, control and elimination. Identifying the role of climate in malaria outbreaks also helps decision makers determine the effectiveness of interventions to prevent and treat the disease.

Here’s the rundown of our current malaria and climate work:

Support for the Climate Services Partnership: Climate & Malaria Data
Location: Madagascar and Ghana
Goals: Improved use of climate information in combatting malaria in the two selected countries.
Partners: President’s Malaria Initiative; US Agency for International Development; International Center for Tropical Agriculture

National Climate data and information for malaria control programmes in Africa
Location: Ethiopia and Tanzania
Goals: Enhanced availability, access and use of climate information in malaria decision-making at the national level in two priority endemic countries, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Partners: Roll Back Malaria and Department for International Development

World Health Organization 
Location: Tanzania and Malawi
Goals: Technical Support and Operational Research Services for Health 
Partners: World Health Organization and and Global Framework for Climate Services

Development of Climate Analysis Section for the President’s Malaria Initiative Impact Evaluation Reports and Refinement of Climate Analysis Tools
Location: Rwanda, Zanzibar (Tanzania) and Mali
Goals: Identify data gaps and methodological challenges in analyzing climate as a variable of malaria transmission; develop methods to assess impact of climate variability on malaria transmission; produce climate analyses to incorporate into the President’s Malaria Initiative impact evaluation
Partners: US Agency for International Development; National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Development of Climate Analysis Section for the President’s Malaria Initiative Impact Evaluation Reports
Location: Ghana and Zambia
Goals: To strengthen the capabilities of SERVIR to respond to the needs of national partners concerned with the delivery of quality assured climate information to national development partners including, but not limited to, health.
Partners: US Agency for International Development; National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Climate Variability and Change: Implications for Malaria Control in East Africa
Location: Ethiopia
Goal: Unpacking the implications of a changing climate for national malaria control and elimination strategies; prioritizing a scientific community of practice; facilitating an informed discussion on current trends and future possible scenarios
Partners: School of Public Health at Addis Ababa University; Ethiopian Public Health Institute; Ethiopian Public Health Association, United States National Institutes of Health; Columbia Global Center-Africa; Health and Climate Foundation

Population Health Vulnerabilities to Vector-borne Diseases: Increasing Resilience under Climate Change Conditions in Africa
Location: Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania
Goal: Provide technical assistance and advice to WHO-TDR and five interdisciplinary research teams during the implementation of the research activities on climate and health
Partners: WHO-Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, International Development Research Centre

Visit IRI’s Public Health page to learn more about our research and activities on malaria, meningitis and other climate-sensitive diseases.