Climate & Health

Category: Uncategorised Published: Monday, 04 July 2016 Written by Super User


EPIDEMIA – Epidemic Prognosis Incorporating Disease and Environmental Monitoring for Integrated Assessment


Since 2009, the HDAMA has collaborated with the Amhara Regional Health Bureau (ARHB) and Scientists from South Dakota State University to conduct research toward malaria early warning for the Amhara region. This research involves analyzing, mapping, and forecasting the risk of malaria based on ecological relationships with climate, land use, and other environmental determinants. Our current project, EPIDEMIA, is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The overarching goal is to develop an integrated disease forecasting system that combines early warning (based on environmental risk factors) and early detection (based on patterns of disease cases) to provide accurate predictions that are useful to public health decision makers. To achieve this goal, we have made substantive progress toward our three major objectives as of August 2016:


Objective 1: Test new modeling approaches that will improve the accuracy and spatial precision of malaria epidemic predictions

·         - We developed a novel approach to carry out malaria early detection and early warning with time series models implemented using the Kalman filter for data assimilation.

·         - These models have been used to produce weekly malaria forecasts for 30 districts beginning in late 2015, and this number was expanded in 47 districts in 2016.

·        - We are currently conducting accuracy assessment and model comparison to improve the accuracy of the forecasts.


Objective 2: Develop new techniques and software to implement these forecasts by integrating data from multiple sources

·         - We created an online information system that includes an environmental database for climatic variables and an epidemiological database for malaria surveillance metrics.

·         - We developed the EASTWeb software to automatically acquire remotely-sensed environmental monitoring data from online archives and to process and store it in the environmental database.

·         - Additional software was developed to automatically harmonize the environmental and epidemiological databases, extract data for modeling fitting and evaluation, run the forecasting models, and generate weekly reports. 


Objective 3: Implement a web-based interface to make the system more useful for public health decision-makers

·         - We held a co-design workshop in summer 2014 to solicit recommendation from public health partners on the system interface design.

·         - Password-protected web-based interfaces were designed to allow public health partners to upload new surveillance data, and to download epidemiological and environmental from the online information system.

·         - HDAMA and ARHB have used these interfaces to provide timely uploads of malaria surveillance data beginning in late 2015.

·         - Weekly report formats were developed to communicate early outbreak detection and early warning forecasts through the use of control charts and maps.

·         - A prototype for an interactive, web-based report featuring dynamic charts and maps has been developed and presented to the public health partners for feedback in summer 2016.

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