Geospatial Surveillance for Malaria Elimination


Dr. John Snow is in a sense the founder of “medical mapping” – if ever a term like that would evolve to exist. And it looks like he will be known that way sooner than later, judging by the number of Geospatial applications in the Medical field.

A new paper  titled “A high-resolution geospatial surveillance-response system for malaria elimination in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu” published in the Malaria Journal happens to a fantastic read.

The paper examines the application of a GIS based Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) to locate and map the distribution of confirmed malaria cases besides rapid classification of active transmission foci and guide targeted responses for malaria eradication in certain zones. For this purpose, a high-resolution geospatial surveillance has been developed within a GIS framework to support malaria elimination in the Pacific.

The methodology (as described in the paper): “Customized SDSS-based surveillance-response systems were developed in the three elimination provinces of Isabel and Temotu, Solomon Islands and Tafea, Vanuatu.”

Just thinking that it might be a good idea to use google maps to locate them on the map… and its somewhere near Australia!

Confirmed malaria cases were reported to provincial malaria offices upon diagnosis and updated into the respective SDSS as part of routine operations throughout 2011. Cases were automatically mapped by household within the SDSS using existing geographical reconnaissance (GR) data. GIS queries were integrated into the SDSS-framework to automatically classify and map transmission foci based on the spatiotemporal distribution of cases, highlight current areas of interest (AOI) regions to conduct foci-specific targeted response, and extract supporting household and population data. GIS simulations were run to detect AOIs triggered throughout 2011 in each elimination province and conduct a sensitivity analysis to calculate the proportion of positive cases, households and population highlighted in AOI regions of a varying geographic radius.

This paper is perhaps an strong indication of the extent to which GIS & Geospatial technology has been able to position itself in the medical mapping and analysis domain. Its a great sign to see Geospatial technology being used to make living healthier.

Kudos to the research team – Gerard C KellyErick HaleWesley DonaldWillie BatariiHugo BugoroJohnny NausienJohn SmaleKevin Palmer,Albino BobogareGeorge TaleoAndrew VallelyMarcel TannerLasse S Vestergaard and Archie CA Clements

Here’s the link to the paper: Malaria Journal 2013

I am one of those passionate "Geo-geeks" and "Geo-people" who is just too excited about everything Geo and Management. Location information and spatial technologies are just too big to take a back seat and watch them revolutionize the world. Always curious and looking for ways to innovate, I guess that it comes naturally by the gene pool I inherited from an engineer Mom and a researcher Dad.