Data-Rich, Low-Cost Technology Helps Shut Down Malaria
Malaria is one of the deadliest diseases on Earth. But remarkable progress has been made over the past 50 years, and now several countries are on the verge of eliminating this mosquito born disease.
DiSARM (Disease Surveillance and Risk Monitoring) – developed and refined continuously by UCSF researchers – could be the technological closer to make eliminating countries finally malaria-free.
In malaria-eliminating countries, health workers in remote villages typically go house to house to track every case of malaria and collect a GPS point with the precise infection locations. DiSARM combines that data with satellite imagery – collected and sorted using Google Earth Engine – of conditions such as rainfall, temperature, vegetation, water proximity and elevation, all of which affect mosquito breeding and parasite growth.
“It produces ‘risk maps’ for health programs which must decide how best to use scarce resources immediately and in the future,” explained Hugh Sturrock, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, who leads the DiSARM project for the Malaria Elimination Initiative, a program of the Global Health Group in UCSF’s Institute for Global Health Sciences (IGHS).
Photo courtesy of CommScope.