Understanding heterogeneities in the epidemiology of malaria in Papua New Guinea


Malaria has been endemic across most parts of Papua New Guinea (PNG) at endemicity levels comparable to sub-Saharan Africa. The National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) has managed to substantially reduce the burden of malaria since the inception of Global Fund-support in 2004. Data from sentinel surveillance sites and country-wide surveys confirm spatial and species-specific heterogeneities in the changing malaria epidemiology but underlying reasons have so far not been thoroughly investigated.


This project aims to provide a better understanding of the impact of the NMCP on the burden and transmission of malaria in four epidemiologically distinct sentinel sites in PNG.


1) Data from sentinel sites will be used to evaluate species-specific morbidity trends and estimate the relative impact of malaria control interventions and underlying secular trends. Drivers of change, and reasons for differences between sites will be investigated.

2) Geo-referenced data on clinical malaria cases will be used to investigate heterogeneities in morbidity and transmission between population groups and geographical areas within each site. This component will be linked to ongoing mathematical modelling of heterogeneities in malaria dynamics at Swiss TPH and provide a basis for potential future work on targeted malaria control interventions.

3) Epidemiological and entomological investigations will be conducted in two to four sentinel sites that exhibit distinct patterns of endemicity and varying changes in morbidity following the roll-out of interventions. This work will be conducted in close collaboration with specialised research groups at the PNG Institute of Medical Research.


Closely linked to this project (particularly to objective 3) is a project funded by TDR, which is described in mode detail here. More details about this complementary project can also be found on the dedicated TDR website http://vbd-environment.org/papua-new-guinea-study.

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Manuel Hetzel

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