The Relationship between House Structure and Malaria Transmission in Rural Villages of Kilombero Valley, Tanzania
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SubjectsMalaria transmission; house structure; statistical analysis; GIS; Spatial analysis; rural villages; Tanzania
Malaria is the leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries, where children under the age of five and pregnant women are the groups most at risk. In Africa, it is the second leading infectious disease killer after HIV/AIDS, accounting for approximately 1 million deaths annually. Malaria is often understood to be a disease of poverty given its concentration in the world’s poorest nations, and a causal factor of poverty as it presents major obstacles to social and economic development with its direct impact on human resources in illness. A better understanding of the relationship between malaria and poverty is needed in order to help guide the implementation of effective policies. Recognizing that house structure often correlates with poverty level, and that many house risk factors influence malaria transmission, the key focus of this research was to examine the relationship between the physical house structure and malaria transmission in rural villages in Tanzania. Since the majority of malaria transmissions occur in the house, I hypothesized there would be a significant correlation between the house structure and malaria transmission. However, data from the Ifakara Health Institute did not support this hypothesis when analyzed using traditional statistical tools. This observation highlighted issues of data quality and may also be attributed to the statistical method adopted and or progress in the control of the malaria epidemic in the area. No clustering effects or spatial autocorrelation were observed using spatial analysis using GIS. This research is important as it identifies factors that influence both vulnerability to malaria and poverty.
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