Mapping malaria risk in Africa

Impact from early investments

TDR news item
11 June 2014

Eleven stories of successful science, technology and innovation in Africa have been published by UNESCO and the Islamic Development Bank. The goal is to raise awareness on how science and technology contributes to a better quality of life and to socio-economic development in Africa.

One of the stories covers the development of a digitised database initiated by TDR in 1996. The Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa (MARA) project was set up as a pan-African enterprise, not owned by any specific organisation but coordinated by South Africa’s Medical Research Council, in the spirit of open collaboration. A group of scientists, based at institutions across Africa and Europe, worked together on the project. Further funding came from not only TDR, but Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Wellcome Trust, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM), and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.

The project built expertise among local malaria control staff to enable them to reference the collected data, and it trained epidemiologists, medical doctors and researchers. Researchers continue to collect data, which remain publicly available and are now housed at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

The projects selected to be profiled by UNESCO had to meet numerous criteria, including being outcome oriented, sustainable, replicable, inclusive and cost effective. Projects also needed to benefit many regions, contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)s and promote gender equity and mainstreaming.

For more information, contact:

Dr Olumide Ogundahunsi (