Posts or Comments 04 December 2021

Climate Bill Brieger | 25 Oct 2021 07:52 pm

Malaria and The 2021 Lancet Countdown on health and climate change

The Lancet has published the 2021 update of the important climate countdown series in time for the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. Interestingly in that 44-page Lancet climate paper malaria is mentioned several times, but basically the same example of increased months of transmission in highland areas repeated. Specifically…

“The number of months with environmentally suitable conditions for the transmission of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) rose by 39% from 1950–59 to 2010–19 in densely populated highland areas in the low HDI group, threatening highly disadvantaged populations who were comparatively safer from this disease than those in the lowland areas (indicator 1.3.1).”

Hopefully the malaria community will use the other information in the report to explore and document additional malaria-climate issues including…

  • Desertification reducing mosquito habitats
  • Climate heightened conflicts putting more people at risk of malaria
  • Translating economic losses into difficulty paying for health systems to support malaria programs
  • Increased zoonotic transmission of malaria (e.g. knowlesi) threatening elimination
  • Rising sea levels affecting mosquito habitats

Malaria is an ideal exemplar condition to demonstrate the effects of climate change by having definitive effects on the host, the vector and the parasite. These issues need immediate attention if malaria elimination targets are to be maintained and achieved.

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