Climate variability and change present both immediate and future risks to human health. Changes in temperature, precipitation and in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events will alter the nature of vector borne diseases, such as malaria, across sub-Saharan Africa, placing more people at risk of exposure. Understanding the changing seasonality of malaria, particularly for areas previously unsuitable to the malaria-carrying mosquito but becoming at risk due to a changing climate, or areas where the length of the season may extend or shorten, will better inform malaria programs and policy, supporting the goal of elimination. Addressing this changing risk profile will require modifying current interventions, putting greater emphasis on improved surveillance and predictive tools that can adaptively respond to the current and forthcoming changes in climate conditions.
This report by the Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessment (ATLAS) project analyzes the shift in malaria transmission patterns based on projected temperature rise in the short, medium, and longer term (2030s, 2050s, 2080s), and the influence of those changes on the number of people at risk. The report uses modeling scenarios to illustrate changes in malaria seasonality and suitability and provide health practitioners and development planners with estimates of the number of people that will be affected by these shifts. The report concludes by highlighting opportunities for action across four domains: 1) investing in on-the-ground surveillance; 2) improving data collection; 3) strengthening capacity to better manage risk; and 4) refining international programming to better integrate projected temperature changes.