Malaria is the leading cause of mortality for children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. That makes it the default diagnosis for patients who arrive at health facilities with a fever. Yet, there are other viruses, known as arboviruses, which also cause fever. Often patients with these viruses are misdiagnosed and treated for malaria.
Different species of mosquitoes carry these viruses. HealthBridge and colleagues at the University of Ottawa are working with partners in Tanzania to map the habitat of these mosquitoes, so medical workers can better predict the cause of a fever.
In 2014, HealthBridge received a seed grant of $112,000 from Grand Challenges Canada to develop this project. The work includes mapping seasonal variations in where mosquitoes live, and developing models to help predict the risk of malaria and arboviruses in certain locations. These seasonal predictions of local malaria and arbovirus risk will be integrated into a smartphone application, which can be used by clinic workers and community health workers to better diagnose and treat fevers.
We hope this will lead to a reduction in overtreatment for malaria, which not only fails to treat the true cause of a patient’s illness but also contributes to the development of drug resistance.
Video – HB YouTube channel
All projects in our program Health, Nutrition and Food Security