Climate Suitability for Stable Malaria Transmission in Zimbabwe Under Different Climate Change Scenarios
Climate is one factor that determines the potential range of malaria. As such, climate change may work with or against efforts to bring malaria under control. We developed a model of future climate suitability for stable Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission in Zimbabwe. Current climate suitability for stable malaria transmission was based on the MARA/ARMA model of climatic constraints on the survival and development of the Anopheles vector and the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite. We explored potential future geographic distributions of malaria using 16 projections of climate in 2100. The results suggest that, assuming no future human-imposed constraints on malaria transmission, changes in temperature and precipitation could alter the geographic distribution of malaria in Zimbabwe, with previously unsuitable areas of dense human population becoming suitable for transmission. Among all scenarios, the highlands become more suitable for transmission, while the lowveld and areas with low precipitation show varying degrees of change, depending on climate sensitivity and greenhouse gas emission stabilization scenarios, and depending on the general circulation model used. The methods employed can be used within or across other African countries.