The Influence of Climate on Malaria Incidence in Malawi
Climate variability and change present both immediate and future risks to human health. Changes in temperature, precipitation and in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events will alter the nature of vector borne diseases, such as malaria, across sub-Saharan Africa, placing more people at risk of exposure. Understanding the changing seasonality of malaria, particularly for areas previously unsuitable to the malaria carrying mosquito but becoming more suitable as the climate changes, or areas where the length of the season may extend or shorten, will better inform malaria programs and policy, supporting the goal of elimination. Addressing this changing risk profile will require modifying current interventions, putting greater emphasis on improved surveillance and predictive tools that allow policy makers and practitioners to adapt programmatic approaches and specific interventions, responding to changes in climate conditions.
This report by the USAID-funded Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessment (ATLAS) project analyzes the shift in malaria incidence based on historical climate trends and explores the future risks from a warming climate for malaria burdens in Malawi. The study provides an overview of the climate and climate drivers of Malawi; explores the causal pathways linking climate to malaria; and examines the near-term projections for climate in Malawi for the 2030s and 2060s and the potential impacts of a changing climate on malaria seasonality nationwide. The report concludes with recommendations to inform the Ministry of Health’s decision-making and investments in preparedness and response to changing malaria risk.