Malaria transmission provides a barrier to national economic growth and poses a constant threat to health, well-being, and economic stability to millions of people worldwide. Spatial medical intelligence is central to the effective planning of malaria control. Forty years have passed since the cartography of malaria worldwide was taken seriously. The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) was founded in 2005 to fill this niche for the malaria control community at a global scale. The MAP team have assembled a unique spatial database of linked information based on medical intelligence and satellite-derived climate data to constrain the limits of malaria transmission and the largest ever archive of community-based estimates of parasite prevalence. These data have been assembled and analyzed by a group of geographers, statisticians, epidemiologists, biologists, and public health specialists. The initial focus of MAP has been centered on Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly form of the malaria parasite, due to its global epidemiological significance and its better prospects for elimination and control. Work in 2010 has begun to map the extent and burden of the so far neglected P. vivax parasite. Dr. Tatem will present an overview of the MAP project, followed by a focus on his particular areas of interest and responsibility, including (i) population mapping through the AfriPop project to improve estimates of populations at risk and clinical burden and (ii) quantifying human and infection movements for malaria elimination feasibility assessments.
Andrew Tatem is an Assistant Professor at the recently established Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. He is also a Research Associate of the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, and the Centre for Geographic Medicine in Nairobi.
His research to date has involved the application of large-scale spatial demographic approaches, disease mapping, and network dynamics methods to a variety of pathogens and public health issues, with a specialization in malaria. His current work is centered around the development of novel approaches for human population mapping, with the initiation of the AfriPop project, and malaria burden estimation through his continued involvement in the Malaria Atlas Project. Moreover, recently initiated projects are focused on the role of air travel in the spread of vector-borne diseases, the quantification of human movement patterns in malaria endemic regions, and the integration of mathematical modeling and GIS for malaria elimination feasibility assessments.