Improving housing and the built environment is a promising strategy for malaria control and elimination. Evidence from a number of African settings indicates that simple modifications that reduce house entry by malaria’s mosquito vectors, such as closing eave gaps and screening doors and windows, can help protect residents from malaria.
Today, Africa’s rapid economic and population growth presents a major opportunity to build ‘healthier’ housing, especially given the new global goal to achieve universal access to adequate, safe and affordable housing by 2030.
Supported by a three year postdoctoral fellowship from the UK Medical Research Council, Dr Lucy Tusting, in collaboration with other MAP researchers, is leading research to investigate the potential role of housing improvements in reducing malaria transmission in Africa. Using advanced epidemiological techniques and model-based geostatistics, the project is addressing three questions:
- How is malaria associated with housing design in different settings in Africa?
- To what extent has housing improved in Africa, and how does this change relate to trends in malaria endemicity, from 2000-2015?
- What is the overall potential impact of using housing improvements as an intervention against malaria?
This research will provide critical data to inform future research and policy decisions linking African urban development with sustainable malaria control and elimination.