Assessing the operational usage of drone imagery for malaria mosquito breeding site mapping in Malawi (Maladrone)
This project aims to assess whether drone imagery can feasibly be used by the national malaria control programme (NMCP) in Malawi to target activities such as LSM.
Specific objectives are to:
- conduct field studies within the UNICEF humanitarian drone testing corridor in Kasungu district, Central Malawi to determine if the mosquito breeding sites can be pragmatically identified using drones, and to establish a framework by which the NMCP could adopt this technology;
- compare the capabilities of multiple drones and a range of open source and commercial image processing approaches in order to establish a balance between habitat identification accuracy and usability; and
- collect data including larval samples, adult mosquito catches and clinical malaria case in order to explore whether breeding site location can be used to identify malaria transmission hotspots within the area.
In Malawi, despite significant advances in malaria control, the progress being made using approaches such as the distribution of long-lasting impregnated nets (LLINs) is showing signs of slowing down. Supplementary approaches that target high transmission areas are therefore needed such as modifying or manipulating potential mosquito breeding sites so that the mosquitoes are no longer able to develop. This is referred to as larval source management (LSM).