Malaria and irrigation

As is the case with many sub Saharan with the Kenya National Irrigation Board, Africa countries, Kenya is currently embarking on a number of large irrigation projects, as a way of reducing over- reliance on rainfed agriculture. However, while irrigation can improve food security, the approach also causes considerable landuse changes with negative implications for malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

icipe has recently commenced a study to investigate how irrigation will affect the goals of the Kenya Malaria Strategy. The research will be conducted in Busia County, western Kenya, where the Kenyan government is establishing an irrigation project expected to cover 4000 hectares.

The icipe study is unique as it provides the opportunity to investigate in collaboration the mosquito and malaria status quo pre- irrigation, and to assess the changes as the irrigation scheme progresses.

The Centre aims to generate reliable information to enable policymakers and stakeholders to allocate resources and adopt strategies to alleviate health risks in an integrated ‘One Health’ approach towards malaria elimination.

The research is being coducted through a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine awarded to Dr Oscar Mbare, who will be mentored by scientists from icipe, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and from Durham University, United Kingdom.