Malaria is one of the most climate-sensitive vector borne diseases. Whether due to short-term deviations in the climate or natural external factors, climate change and variability can directly and indirectly impact on transmission.
We’re working with our partners on programmes across Africa and Asia to incorporate responses to climate-related risks into malaria interventions. Broadly, this commitment is a part of a whole systems approach that shapes much of our work on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria across different levels of the health system. Beneath this holistic approach, we carry out a range of activities to mitigate climate-related risks.
What is a climate-related risk, and what threat do they pose to malaria control?
The precise impact changes in climate have on the transmission of malaria is still inconclusive. However, research suggests that climate change could increase the population at risk of acquiring malaria by 5–7 percent across Africa by 2100 and result in 60,000 additional malaria deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 . This could be due to changing weather patterns that cause an increase in rainfall and extreme weather, which in turn may increase the number and range of breeding sites for Anopheles mosquitoes – the main vector of malaria parasites – increasing their potential to breed and multiply.
When flooding was seen in Kachanga around Lake Victoria in Uganda last year, there were fears this would lead to a large outbreak of malaria. Our initial response was to distribute approximately 3,000 long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), which will protect the community from mosquitoes for up to three years. However, longer term, solutions are required to mitigate climate-related risks long into an unpredictable future.
How is Malaria Consortium building climate resilience into malaria responses?
Research and evidence: Building resilience to climate-related health risks requires a more comprehensive understanding of the region-specific effects of climate change, and capability of communities to recognise and mitigate these risks.
Surveillance and response: Integrating real-time meteorological data into national and sub-national malaria monitoring and surveillance systems is necessary to track and anticipate how climatic changes may influence disease exposure and transmission and, thus, enable health services to effectively mitigate and manage these risks.
Community engagement: Sensitising communities to the region-specific impacts and risks of climate change
on health is essential to allow for the development and improvement of local resilience capacities.
To learn more about Malaria Consortium’s position on climate, read the full position statement.
The position statement is a part of Malaria Consortium’s ‘Future Health’ series, in which the organisation is using its expertise and experience of running health intervention programmes around the world to share its position on some of the biggest threats to and developments in global health. The five topics covered in the series are antimicrobial resistance, vaccines, climate change, dengue and digital health.
 World Health Organization. Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on causes of death, 2030s and 2050s. Geneva: WHO; 2014. Available from: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/134014/1/9789241507691_eng.pdf?ua=1