The Malaria Access Project (MAP) has published details about their accurate worldwide map of malaria risk in the open access journal PLoS Medicine. Findings indicate that the goal of the Roll Back Malaria partnership of the World Health Organization to eliminate three-quarters of the at-risk areas will be more doable than previously thought. The MAP project is lead by the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the University of Oxford and funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Researchers spent two years to compile worldwide satellite-derived climate data and an archive of 11,000 community-based estimates of parasite prevalence. The data has been compiled and analyze by geographers, statisticians, epidemiologists, biologists and public health specialists. The mathematical and spatial analysis was used to develop the map that produced an unprecedented resolution of 25km2.
The initial focus of the MAP has been on the most deadly form of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, which is responsible for nine out of ten deaths from malaria. The project shows that 2.4 billion people are at risk, but three-quarters live in areas where risk is considered low and the technical obstacles to malaria control are relatively small. The map shows that almost all of those living in areas of high transmission live in sub-Saharan Africa where the disease, death and disability burdens from P. falciparum malaria remain high.
All data generated will be made freely available, with GIS users in mind.