Innovation That Matters

The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust is using drones to map the prevalence of mosquito-borne malaria | Photo source Pixabay

Drones map mosquito breeding grounds to help prevent malaria

Health & Wellbeing

The drones are being used to tackle one of Malawi’s top three public health challenges

Spotted: Malaria remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2019, there were more than 200 million cases and around 400,000 deaths. As with most illnesses, prevention is of the utmost importance and something that is currently being studied by the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme. The team of researchers uses drones to map mosquito breeding grounds across Malawi.

Water access is a necessity for the disease to develop, so the scientists hope to be able to identify specifically what conditions allow the disease to flourish. Such knowledge allows eradication campaigns to start in the most dangerous locations. During the rainy season, many Malawian communities are struck by the disease three or four times. As well as the health challenge, losing out on days of work hurts subsistence farmers much more than an employee working a desk job.  

Researchers identified dams as locations of potential interest, and possible solutions to some of the challenges identified in the pilot study have already been identified. Further development of networks of drone technology experts will help strengthen access to this type of public health work, particularly in rural areas with irregular access to electricity and internet connectivity.

Drones have been successfully deployed in a number of different ways, with Springwise spotting drone solar panel cleaning systems and crop monitoring solutions.  

Written by: Keely Khoury



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