Magazine article Geographical

Stemming the Flow: Development in Sub-Saharan Africa Is Being Undermined by a Growing Number of Malaria Cases, with People Living near Dams at Least Three Times More Likely to Contract the Disease

Magazine article Geographical

Stemming the Flow: Development in Sub-Saharan Africa Is Being Undermined by a Growing Number of Malaria Cases, with People Living near Dams at Least Three Times More Likely to Contract the Disease

Article excerpt

Stagnant waters created by dam reservoirs in sub-Saharan Africa generate perfect conditions for malaria-spreading Anopheles mosquitoes to breed and multiply, and a recent study shows that it is the 14.6 million people living within the 5km flight range of those mosquitoes who are increasingly suffering the consequences.

The research by the University of New England in Australia finds that an annual 1.1 million cases of malaria in high-risk areas across the region can be associated with people living in the vicinity of a dam. This figure is expected to rise by another 56,000 cases annually as new dams are built, with evidence suggesting that proximity to the structures makes the chances of contracting malaria 3.2 times higher than people living further away in the region.

'While dams clearly bring many benefits contributing to economic growth, poverty alleviation and food security--adverse malaria impacts need to be addressed or they will undermine the sustainability of Africa's drive for development,' says biologist Solomon Kibret, the study's lead author. …

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