Background: Mozambique was recently ranked fifth in the African continent for the number of cases of malaria. In Chimoio municipality cases of malaria are increasing annually, contrary to the decreasing trend in Africa. As malaria transmission is influenced to a large extent by climatic conditions, modelling this relationship can provide useful insights for designing precision health measures for malaria control. There is a scarcity of information on the association between climatic variability and malaria transmission risk in Mozambique in general, and in Chimoio in particular. Therefore, the aim of this study is to model the association between climatic variables and malaria cases on a weekly basis, to help policy makers find adequate measures for malaria control and eradication. Methods: Time series analysis was conducted using data on weekly climatic variables and weekly malaria cases (counts) in Chimoio municipality, from 2006 to 2014. All data were analysed using SPSS-20, R 3.3.2 and BioEstat 5.0. Cross-correlation analysis, linear processes, namely ARIMA models and regression modelling, were used to develop the final model. Results: Between 2006 and 2014, 490,561 cases of malaria were recorded in Chimoio. Both malaria and climatic data exhibit weekly and yearly systematic fluctuations. Cross-correlation analysis showed that mean temperature and precipitation present significantly lagged correlations with malaria cases. An ARIMA model (2,1,0) (2,1,1)52, and a regression model for a Box-Cox transformed number of malaria cases with lags 1, 2 and 3 of weekly malaria cases and lags 6 and 7 of weekly mean temperature and lags 12 of precipitation were fitted. Although, both produced similar widths for prediction intervals, the last was able to anticipate malaria outbreak more accurately. Conclusion: The Chimoio climate seems ideal for malaria occurrence. Malaria occurrence peaks during January to March in Chimoio. As the lag effect between climatic events and malaria occurrence is important for the prediction of malaria cases, this can be used for designing public precision health measures. The model can be used for planning specific measures for Chimoio municipality. Prospective and multidisciplinary research involving researchers from different fields is welcomed to improve the effect of climatic factors and other factors in malaria cases.
- Precision public health