Climate change and the dynamics of age-related malaria incidence in Southern Africa

Jailos Lubinda, Ubydul Haque, Yaxin Bi, Muhammad Yousaf Shad, David Keellings, Busiku Hamainza, Adrian J. Moore

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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In the last decade, many malaria-endemic countries, like Zambia, have achieved significant reductions in malaria incidence among children <5 years old but face ongoing challenges in achieving similar progress against malaria in older age groups. In parts of Zambia, changing climatic and environmental factors are among those suspectedly behind high malaria incidence. Changes and variations in these factors potentially interfere with intervention program effectiveness and alter the distribution and incidence patterns of malaria differentially between young children and the rest of the population. We used parametric and non-parametric statistics to model the effects of climatic and socio-demographic variables on age-specific malaria incidence vis-à-vis control interventions. Linear regressions, mixed models, and Mann-Kendall tests were implemented to explore trends, changes in trends, and regress malaria incidence against environmental and intervention variables. Our study shows that while climate parameters affect the whole population, their impacts are felt most by people aged ≥5 years. Climate variables influenced malaria substantially more than mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying interventions. We establish that climate parameters negatively impact malaria control efforts by exacerbating the transmission conditions via more conducive temperature and rainfall environments, which are augmented by cultural and socioeconomic exposure mechanisms. We argue that an intensified communications and education intervention strategy for behavioural change specifically targeted at ≥5 aged population where incidence rates are increasing, is urgently required and call for further malaria stratification among the ≥5 age groups in the routine collection, analysis and reporting of malaria mortality and incidence data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111017
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Research
Early online date22 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The UK Commonwealth Scholarship supported JL for his PhD funding. UH, and David Keellings was supported in part by the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as part of the University of Florida Pre-eminence Initiative.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Age
  • Bayesian models
  • Climate change
  • Malaria interventions
  • Temperature
  • Zambia


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