Assessing malaria infections among migratory rice farmers in a residual transmission setting in rural south eastern Tanzania
The main objective of this project is to investigate how much of the residual malaria in the Ulanga district, south-eastern Tanzania, occurs among migratory rice farmers.
Malaria is declining across Africa, due to improved vector control, case management, urbanization, improved health care and better living standards. Its epidemiology is increasingly stratified, with geographically distinct high transmission areas or demographically high-risk sub-populations. In Ulanga district, south-eastern Tanzania, malaria has declined by 60% since 2001 but low-level transmission persists despite 80% bednet coverage. Many families practice migratory rice farming, spending weeks or months in their farms, 5-35km away. They live in semi-open improvised huts (Shamba-houses), far from organized health services and without effective protection. Initially, data available at Ifakara Health Institute and key informant interviews will be used to categorize migratory lifestyles, based on time people spend in their fields. Then, pre and post farming season screenings of consenting adult migratory farmers will be conducted, and their age-matched non-migratory controls, and all Plasmodium-infected participants will be treated. During the farming season, malaria vectors indoors and outdoors will be collected in farms and main villages, to analyse where and when these farmers experience most infectious bites. The findings will guide targeted interventions for these migratory sub-populations.