Mapping Populations at Greater Risk of Malaria Due to Hydroelectric Dams in Ethiopia: A Case Study of the Gilgel Gibe III Hydroelectric Dam

Authors: Abigail Smith*, University of North Alabama
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Remote Sensing, Africa
Keywords: Malaria, Hydroelectric Dams, Ethiopia
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Malaria is a communicable disease that is spread by female mosquitos of the Anopheles genus. It is acutely prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 90% of malaria deaths occur each year. One Sub-Saharan African country historically impacted by malaria is Ethiopia. In the past twenty years, malaria prevalence has been significantly decreased throughout Sub-Saharan Africa; yet, anthropogenic environmental changes are changing the landscape of malaria. Scholarly literature has cited a positive relationship between hydroelectric dams and malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Ethiopia is currently expanding their hydroelectric infrastructure.

The Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric dam is located on the Omo River in Southwestern Ethiopia. It began generating electricity in 2015 and its reservoir has a capacity of 14,700 million cubic meters of water. This research utilizes Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing to identify populations at an increased risk of malaria due to the Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric dam. Two different techniques are utilized to quantify populations at an increased risk of malaria. The first technique is based solely on distance from the reservoir. It identifies all populations living within three kilometers of the reservoir as being at an increased risk. The second technique evaluates slope, elevation, NDVI, LST, and land use/landcover type to identify probable mosquito breeding sites. Then, locates populations living within three kilometers of those sites from remotely sensed imagery. The first technique identifies more people as being at an increased risk of malaria, but does not account for the conditions that are necessary for mosquito breeding.

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