Frontiers in Public Health (Sep 2017)

Spatiotemporal Modeling for Fine-Scale Maps of Regional Malaria Endemicity and Its Implications for Transitional Complexities in a Routine Surveillance Network in Western Cambodia

  • Suguru Okami,
  • Naohiko Kohtake

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5


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Due to the associated and substantial efforts of many stakeholders involved in malaria containment, the disease burden of malaria has dramatically decreased in many malaria-endemic countries in recent years. Some decades after the past efforts of the global malaria eradication program, malaria elimination has again featured on the global health agenda. While risk distribution modeling and a mapping approach are effective tools to assist with the efficient allocation of limited health-care resources, these methods need some adjustment and reexamination in accordance with changes occurring in relation to malaria elimination. Limited available data, fine-scale data inaccessibility (for example, household or individual case data), and the lack of reliable data due to inefficiencies within the routine surveillance system, make it difficult to create reliable risk maps for decision-makers or health-care practitioners in the field. Furthermore, the risk of malaria may dynamically change due to various factors such as the progress of containment interventions and environmental changes. To address the complex and dynamic nature of situations in low-to-moderate malaria transmission settings, we built a spatiotemporal model of a standardized morbidity ratio (SMR) of malaria incidence, calculated through annual parasite incidence, using routinely reported surveillance data in combination with environmental indices such as remote sensing data, and the non-environmental regional containment status, to create fine-scale risk maps. A hierarchical Bayesian frame was employed to fit the transitioning malaria risk data onto the map. The model was set to estimate the SMRs of every study location at specific time intervals within its uncertainty range. Using the spatial interpolation of estimated SMRs at village level, we created fine-scale maps of two provinces in western Cambodia at specific time intervals. The maps presented different patterns of malaria risk distribution at specific time intervals. Moreover, the visualized weights estimated using the risk model, and the structure of the routine surveillance network, represent the transitional complexities emerging from ever-changing regional endemic situations.