Geostatistical modelling of the malaria risk in Mozambique: effect of the spatial resolution when using remotely-sensed imagery

Submitted: 24 February 2015
Accepted: 17 August 2015
Published: 26 November 2015
Abstract Views: 3167
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The study of malaria spatial epidemiology has benefited from recent advances in geographic information system and geostatistical modelling. Significant progress in earth observation technologies has led to the development of moderate, high and very high resolution imagery. Extensive literature exists on the relationship between malaria and environmental/climatic factors in different geographical areas, but few studies have linked human malaria parasitemia survey data with remote sensing-derived land cover/land use variables and very few have used Earth Observation products. Comparison among the different resolution products to model parasitemia has not yet been investigated. In this study, we probe a proximity measure to incorporate different land cover classes and assess the effect of the spatial resolution of remotely sensed land cover and elevation on malaria risk estimation in Mozambique after adjusting for other environmental factors at a fixed spatial resolution. We used data from the Demographic and Health survey carried out in 2011, which collected malaria parasitemia data on children from 0 to 5 years old, analysing them with a Bayesian geostatistical model. We compared the risk predicted using land cover and elevation at moderate resolution with the risk obtained employing the same variables at high resolution. We used elevation data at moderate and high resolution and the land cover layer from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer as well as the one produced by MALAREO, a project covering part of Mozambique during 2010-2012 that was funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Program. Moreover, the number of infected children was predicted at different spatial resolutions using AFRIPOP population data and the enhanced population data generated by the MALAREO project for comparison of estimates. The Bayesian geostatistical model showed that the main determinants of malaria presence are precipitation and day temperature. However, the presence of wetlands and bare soil are also very important factors. The model validation performed on a subset of locations revealed that the use of high-resolution covariates (MALAREO land cover and elevation data) improved prediction performance.

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Giardina, F., Franke, J., & Vounatsou, P. (2015). Geostatistical modelling of the malaria risk in Mozambique: effect of the spatial resolution when using remotely-sensed imagery. Geospatial Health, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/gh.2015.333

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