Climate and public-health communities are learning to speak each other’s language to improve decision making. Learn more: Watch a short video that the IRI communications crew put together. We used a Nikon D90 and Panasonic LX-3 for photos and some of the videos. We made the interviews with our trusty Canon Vixia.
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From the IRI web site
A massive scale-up in the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and other control programs are helping to protect more than half a billion people in sub-Saharan Africa against malaria, according to the World Health Organization. In its latest World Malaria Report, the organization cited these efforts as contributing to significant but fragile decreases in malaria cases and deaths in the region.
Worldwide, the WHO estimates deaths from malaria in 2009 were 781,000, about 200,000 fewer than they were in 2000. The most significant gains were made in Africa, where the disease extracts the heaviest burden on society. There, eleven countries saw cases and deaths drop by at least half between 2008 and 2010. Additionally, in 32 countries outside of Africa where malaria is considered to be endemic–occurring year-round–the number of confirmed cases also dropped by more than half. However, some countries, such as Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Zambia showed a worrying reversal to this trend in malaria cases in 2009, highlighting the need for constant vigilance and careful assessment of the roles that socioeconomic and environmental factors, including climate, play in driving these changes.
“The news coming out of the WHO report is overall very encouraging, but we still need to know if any of the changes in malaria trends are really a result of the interventions and not due to other factors, such as a drought,” says Madeleine Thomson, a senior research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, which is also a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Climate Sensitive Diseases. “Knowing this would improve the quality of our impact assessment,” she says.IRI related | Comment (0)
Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the Internet search company, has awarded the IRI $900,000 to work with its partners to improve the use of forecasts, rainfall data and other climate information in East Africa, and to build stronger connections between weather, climate and health specialists there so they can better predict and prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The award is part of Google.org’s Predict and Prevent program, which funds projects and technologies that help map “hot spots” of global emerging infectious diseases and develop improved early-warning systems that predict potential disease outbreaks.
Climate plays a critical role in determining the distribution of many of Africa’s epidemic diseases, such as malaria and meningitis. Their transmission is dependent on prevailing environmental conditions such as rainfall and temperature. Year-to-year variations in the amount of rainfall and temperature can therefore change the pattern and timing of epidemics. This makes it difficult for poor countries to plan their public health strategies.
But the link between climate and some diseases means that seasonal forecasts, satellite measurements and other data can be useful in making decisions about how much resources to allocate for an upcoming epidemic season, and when and where to allocate them.
Be sure to dowload a cool new Google Earth layer that shows the locations of each grant project.Filed under IRI related | Comment (0)
Malaria affects between 300 and 500 million people every year, according to the WHO. It causes two percent of all deaths worldwide–among them 3,000 children a day, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Complications from malaria, such as severe anemia, account for at least a million additional deaths. Most of the countries where endemic and epidemic malaria occurs are among the poorest on Earth. Because the disease causes widespread illness and death, it is a great drain on many national economies, consuming as much as 40% of their public-health expenditures.
April 25 marks the first World Malaria Day, created by the World Health Organization to raise global awareness of this devastating but preventable infectious disease. As a PAHO-WHO Collaborating Centre, the IRI has long provided countries the technical support needed to develop early warning systems for malaria and other climate sensitive diseases.
IRI’s diverse set of experts demonstrate ways in which climate information, such as historic variability, real-time monitoring and seasonal forecasting, improves decision making in health, agriculture and other climate-sensitive sectors.
Read all about the IRI’s malaria work here.Filed under IRI related | Comment (0)
Users of IRI’s Malaria Map Room and desert locust monitoring tools for Africa can now take advantage of SERVIR, NASA’s high-tech satellite visualization system, thanks to a new plugin developed by scientists at the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology [IAGT] and IRI.
As with other mapping browsers such as Google Earth, SERVIR allows users to zoom from satellite altitude to any place on Earth, and even tilt their viewing angle so that they can “fly” across a 3-D terrain. What’s more, the software taps into dozens of high-resolution satellite-image sources such as MODIS and Landsat. Users can add layers that show temperature, rainfall, cloud cover over the entire globe. They can even overlay animated weather events, such as hurricanes.
Read the more about this on the IRI’s web site.
And check out IRI’s media page.
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This week’s IRI feaure
Each year in Colombia, more than 100,000 people get sick from malaria and approximately 42,000 come down with dengue fever. Now, the national government has enlisted IRI’s help in using climate risk management in an ongoing project to improve its early-warning system for the two diseases. The work is overseen by the World Bank and funded by Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Colombia.”What makes this work fresh and exciting is its approach,” says Walter Baethgen, director of IRI’s Latin America and Caribbean Program. “We have here a project on climate-change adaptation, funded by large and respected global institution, that is looking at ways to reduce a society’s current vulnerabilities to climate as a means of improving its future ability to adapt. This isn’t about projections fifty or hundred years from now, which mean little to people already having to deal with climate risks today.”Colombia spends $15 million annually to try to control malaria and dengue, according to Gilma Mantilla, who, until recently, ran the infectious-disease surveillance program at the Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS). Mantilla says that climate change may have profound impacts on the transmission dynamics of dengue and malaria in the country. [image: James Gathany/CDC]
Read the rest of the story here