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How drones are helping in the fight against malaria

last modified Jul 12, 2018 06:34 PM
By combining high-tech drones with low-tech methods, researchers are embarking on a project funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to map out where mosquitoes breed in Malawi.

MRC Fellow Michelle Stanton of Lancaster University and Christopher Jones of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, currently based at the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust (MLW) Clinical Research Programme in Blantyre, Malawi, have piloted the use of drones in mapping potential malaria reservoirs.

Kasungu, a small town at the base of the picturesque Kasungu Mountain, is the centre of Africa’s first humanitarian drone testing corridor. Set up by UNICEF in 2017 with support from the Malawi government, the corridor is an 80km-wide area for flying and testing drones to help the local people.

Keen to dispel the reputation that drones are only useful for destruction, the UNICEF corridor promotes “drones for good”.

In this case, the drones are being deployed to map mosquito breeding sites both during the rainy and dry season to determine which areas are prone to malaria transmission.

They could provide the information to reduce mosquito numbers in water bodies through environmental management. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding – especially in those sparsely available sites in the dry season – and it could make a significant impact on local malaria cases.

 

To read the full blog post by M Stanton and C Jones please visit the MRC Insight page.

 

Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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