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Malaria indicator surveys demonstrate a markedly lower prevalence of malaria in large cities of sub-Saharan Africa
Authors: Bob S Pond
Source: Malaria Journal, 12:313 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-313
Topic(s): Malaria
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: SEP 2013
Abstract: Background One in eight sub-Saharan Africans now lives in a city with a population greater than 750,000. Decision makers require additional evidence regarding the burden of malaria in these large cities. This paper presents results from analysis of existing data from nationwide household surveys measuring malaria parasitaemia by microscopy among children six to 59 months of age in 15 countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Methods Geo-coordinates for each survey cluster were used to determine the distance from the cluster to the centre of each of 16 large cities with populations greater than 750,000. Geo-coordinates of each site within 25 km of the centre were entered into Google Earth to obtain a satellite image of the location and determine whether it was within the boundaries of the metropolis. In the case of two countries for which survey geo-coordinates were not available, clusters located in an additional four large cities were identified based upon their designated district. Data from all sites within city boundaries were pooled together and compared to data from all rural sites within 150 km of the city centre or in the same zone of malaria endemicity. Results Of the 20 large cities, only in Ouagadougou were more than 10% of children found to have a malaria infection. The prevalence was less than 5% for 16 of these cities. Apart from Antananarivo where both the large city and the comparison rural communities were parasite-free, the prevalence in each of the large cities was 0 to 40% of that found among children living in rural communities within 150 km of these cities or within the same zone of malaria endemicity. In 14 of the 20 large cities, all of the children living in 75% or more of the clusters were malaria parasite-free. Conclusions Existing data from malaria indicator surveys can be used to document the substantially lower prevalence of malaria in specific large cities. These findings will help policy makers, public health programmers and clinical workers in each country to develop and promote malaria control strategies that are suited to large cities as well as to those living in smaller communities.