The scale-up of malaria control in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has resulted in a significant reduction in the nationwide prevalence and incidence of malaria. However, this effect has not been uniform across the country and considerable heterogeneity in transmission exists in different areas.
Minimal data currently exists on the determinants of heterogeneity and residual malaria transmission in PNG and which human, vector and/or parasite behaviour/characteristics are the most important obstacles to elimination. This project aims to address this knowledge gap by:
- measuring the prevalence and distribution of malaria infection to assess the magnitude of residual malaria at the time of study,
- studying the Anopheles vectors to characterize local vector abundance, composition and behaviour,
- invetsigating the mosquito-human contact patterns in order to understand what behaviour renders which population groups susceptible to residual transmission, and
- establising a clinical surveillance system linked to geo-referenced village locations in order to validate a routine system for identifying focal areas of transmission.
Understanding the extent of local heterogeneity in malaria transmission and the its driving factors is critical in order to identify and implement targeted control measures, which will ensure continued success in malaria control in PNG.