New global migration map may help fight malaria

London, Aug 23 (IANS) Researchers have developed a map based on the census data of 40 different countries that can track the flow of internal human migration in low- and middle-income countries as well as help in the global fight against infectious diseases like malaria.

The map shows webs of connectivity within countries across three continents — Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean — and indicates the high and low flows of people moving between different locations.

“Understanding how people are moving around within countries is vital in combating infectious diseases like malaria,” said Andy Tatem, Professor and Director of WorldPop project at the University of Southampton.

“The parasite which causes the disease can be quickly reintroduced to a malaria-free area by highly mobile populations,” Tatem added.

The map will greatly aid disease control and elimination planning on global and regional scales, the study noted.

Human mobility may continue to rise and thus create a range of impacts, such as invasive species, drug resistance spread and disease pandemics.

Thus, having an accurate overview of how different regions of countries are connected by human movement aids effective disease control planning and helps target resources, such as treated bed nets or community health workers, in the right places, the researchers said.

The data could also be used to support regional control and elimination strategies for other infectious diseases, for example, Schistosomiasis (snail fever), River Blindness, HIV, Dengue and Yellow Fever, said the paper published in he journal Scientific Data.

“It’s crucial we understand human mobility, so we can quantify the effect it has on our societies and the environment and provide strong evidence to support the development of policies to address issues, such as public health problems,” said lead author Alessandro Sorichetta from the University of Southampton in Britain.

For the study, the team sourced the census data from around 40 different countries and have produced detailed population migration maps on a scale not seen before.



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