Omede Ogu of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health reports on efforts to undertake mapping of malaria in the country as a basis for better planning of control and eventual elimination efforts.
The National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP) has been meeting with the team from the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA). Progress on pilot malaria mapping in Niger State is being reviewed, though the study is yet to be concluded. NMEP is also looking at opportunities that exist to expand their initial mapping to cover the whole of the country. Discussions are underway on next steps and development of a road map or a framework for the study going forward.
NASRDA explained that the current mapping effort was aimed is to use satellite-based technology to map surface water for Malaria Control in North-central Nigeria with Niger State as a Pilot study. They noted that data in inaccessible locations such as the marshy areas, thick forests, rugged terrain etc. were previously unavailable for relevant environmental policy and decision making in the region and Nigeria.
In addition is will be possible to do infrastructural mapping and inventory of health care facilities, in order to identify and assess the state of health care facilities, how accessible and future areas of need provision of these facilities in the country.
So far NASRDA has identified settlements, and locations of hospitals and health centres throughout Niger State using Global Positioning System (GPS). They have also identified water bodies and wetlands locations throughout the state.
Finally they are developing a map of Surface Water and wetlands in the state showing these in relation to locations of settlements, hospitals and health centres. NMEP is planning to link with colleagues doing similar mapping in Kenya.
NMEP plans to have the final report of the study ready by October for dissemination. Major partners with funding lines in their 2014 work plans for this study are the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and NASRDA. Additional funding and support is being sought.
Kenya already is using its mapping to focus appropriate malaria interventions. All countries will benefit in better mapping for targeting their malaria control and elimination efforts.