Project Team: Zanzibar Health and Air Quality Team
Team Location: International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Palisades, New York
Dr. Pietro Ceccato (Lead Environmental Monitoring Program, International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute, Columbia University)
Malaria is still present on the island of Zanzibar although, transmission of the disease has declined significantly over the past two decades. There is an increasing scientific consensus that the practical policy option for dealing with malaria is to pursue a global policy of progressive elimination and aggressive control in high burden areas with the goal of eventual eradication. African countries choosing this path are already developing malaria control and elimination strategies, and roadmaps for delivery approaches to target resources, which will prevent the reintroduction of malaria into regions where control strategies have been successful. New strategies to eradicate malaria require an understanding of how interventions affect the transmission of the disease across different geographic areas (at multiple spatial and temporal scales), in a varying climate, and where detailed land-surface processes affect vector population dynamics and behavior. Such requirements are not unique to the eradication community, but they are important for control and elimination. In particular, national malaria control programs and their partners need to understand the current malaria distribution, its seasonal transmission dynamics, the location of persistent hotspots, the likely timing of outbreaks, and the impact of current measures to control malaria in the context of current and future transmission drivers. These drivers include climate variability and change at multiple spatial and temporal scales. In addition to these drivers, links have been found between several environmental factors and vector-borne disease outbreaks. Unfortunately, many times meteorological and ecological data are difficult to procure, thus remote sensing is employed to fill the void. Data from the ISS SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization system (ISERV) camera system aboard the International Space Station (ISS) along with the Landsat 5 satellite were used to identify various land covers across Zanzibar. These land covers were used to identify various climatological and environmental factors that allow for the presence of malaria in the region.