Malaria is a parasitic disease that is transmitted between humans through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. While there are four types of parasites that can cause malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum is by far the most deadly and common, particularly in Zambia and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Zambia is among the sub-Saharan countries that have been affected with malaria and a lot of people die because of this disease. Most People who die from this disease are those that are vulnerable. According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), more than 16 million people are at risk of malaria in Zambia. MoH has formulated a National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan 2017-2021, which aims at eliminating malaria by the year 2021. The vision of this strategic plan is to make sure that Zambia is free from malaria.
This fight against malaria is not only a fight for the government but everyone is called upon in making sure that the goal to have a malaria-free nation is achieved by 2021. With the help of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and YouthMappers, I am carrying out research in the Luano District of Central Zambia. The purpose of my research is to investigate the incidence of malaria among vulnerable people of Luano Distrct. The main object of the research project is to;
(a) Map the incidence of malaria in Luano District using Open Street Mapping techniques.
(b) Determining the burden of malaria epidemics in the area.
(c) Determine the impact of the incidence of malaria on the socio-economic well-being of the people in the area.
For the past months, we have been talking to and having consultation from different people and organizations. One of them is the Malaria Elimination Center which is under the Ministry Of Health that has been tasked to make sure that malaria is eliminated in Zambia.
The picture showing the road leading to Luano District
No matter how bad a road can be, nothing will stop the will of someone to make a change. They say “where there is a will there is a way,” and it is this force that is driving us to make sure that by all means this project is a success. Thank you to YouthMappers and USAID for giving us this opportunity to reach out to the people of Luano District. One thing that I have come to realise is, being a part of YouthMappers calls for you to think critically on how to create a positive change in your community.
I am looking forward to the outcome of the research and I will be very happy to share the full findings to all the YouthMappers and Open Street Map community.
Chomba Chishala is a 2018 YouthMappers Research Fellow, mentored by Dr. Benard Chileshe at the University of Zambia, working on the research to determine the prevalence’s of malaria in Luano district in Zambia. He is currently an undergraduate student and former President for the YouthMappers University of Zambia Chapter (YMUNZA), studying Environmental Education in the School of Education. His desire is to see more youths to take keen interest in what is happening in their community and voice out their opinions through mapping.