Cholera in Malawi: Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Occurrence and Prevention Strategies

Authors: Suresh Muthukrishnan*, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, USA, Maxwell Kamba, Department of Land Management, Mzuzu University, Malawi, Prince Kaponda, Department of Water Resources Management and Development, Mzuzu University, Malawi, Rochelle H. Holm, Centre of Excellence in Water and Sanitation, Mzuzu University, Malawi, Mavuto Tembo, Department of Agriscience, Mzuzu University, Malawi, Rory Barber, United Nations Children’s Fund Malawi (UNICEF - Malawi)
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Temporal GIS, Africa
Keywords: Community Health GIS, Cholera Prevention, Water and Sanitation, Malawi - Africa, Spatial and Temporal GIS, Community Perception
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Cholera is an acute intestinal infection transmitted through consumption of contaminated food and water. Access to quality drinking water and sanitation, and level of public awareness often dictates the severity of an outbreak of Cholera. Sub-Saharan African countries, like Malawi, have seasonality in precipitation that optimizes the conditions for spread of Cholera, thus stressing the already resource constrained communities. In addition to human suffering and loss of lives, Cholera outbreaks and epidemics cause slowing of development activities in affected areas through diversion of significant amount of monetary resources to tackle this problem. The main objective of this study is to analyze the spatial and temporal patterns of 2017-18 Cholera cases in Karonga District in Malawi with the goal of developing proactive approaches to preventing Cholera rather than reacting to an outbreak. Preliminary results show that Cholera occurrence has seasonality, it affects people younger than 25 years in age more, and occurs in clusters clearly indicating communicable nature of this disease. Using Cholera hotspots identified from the study along with results from water quality analysis and community perceptions about Cholera threat, we propose effective strategies for delivering context specific educational and outreach activities as well as for improving access to water and sanitation to prevent future outbreaks in Malawi.

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