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Population at Risk of Malaria

Authors:Susmita Dasgupta , Brian Blankespoor , Abdelaziz Lagnaoui  and Subhendu Roy
Web Address:Environment and Energy Research
Report Number:wps6203

                                       "Heath costs and benefits of DDT use in malaria control and prevention"
                                        S. Dasgupta, B. Blankespoor, A. Lagnaoui and S. Roy
                                        World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 6203, September 2012

Malaria poses a risk to approximately 3.3 billion people or approximately half of the world's population. Most malaria cases occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe are also affected. According to the Global Malaria Report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria was present in 106 countries and territories in 2010; and there were 216 million estimated cases of malaria and nearly 0.7 million deaths - mostly among children living in Africa.

In this research, we have estimated current population exposed to malaria - by country. In our computation, we have made the geographical distinction of areas with high, medium, low prevalence ("endemicity") of malaria in each country based on the Global malaria atlas compiled by the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) of the Oxford University. The data are based on 24,492 parasite rate surveys (Plasmodiumfalciparum. 24,178; Plasmodium vivax. 8,866) from an aggregated sample of 4,373,066 slides prepared from blood samples taken in 85 countries. The MAP study employs a new cartographic technique for deriving global clinical burden estimates of Plasmodium falciparum malaria for 2007. These estimates are then compared with those derived under existing surveillance-based approaches to arrive at the final data used in the malaria mapping (Hay et al., 2009). (, accessed 2012) Malaria maps generally separate the malaria endemicity into three broad categories by Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate (PfPR), a commonly reported index of malaria transmission intensity: PfPR < 5% as low endemicity, PfPR 5%-40% as medium/intermediate endemicity, and PfPR > 40% as high endemicity.

In our research, global mapping techniques were used to estimate population exposed to malaria. The malaria endemicity maps were overlaid on global population maps from Landscan 20051 (Dobson, 2000) and country-level population exposure in the three endemicity areas were computed. Due to the spatial reference of the data and the number of observations in the combined data, the use of Geographic Information Systems functions from ESRI ArcGIS (v 9.3.1) were used and automated in the python (v 2.5) language.

Original data sources for assessment of vulnerable population:

DimensionDataset nameSource(s)
Malaria endemicityGlobal Malaria AtlasOxford University-Malaria Atlas Project
PopulationHigh Resolution Global Population Data SetLandScan 2005
Administrative boundariesGlobal Administrative BoundariesWorld Bank 2010
Country-level impacts have been summarized in the spreadsheet below

1This product was made utilizing the LandScan (2005)TM High Resolution global Population Data Set copyrighted by UT-Battelle, LLC, operator of Oak Ridge National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the United States Department of Energy.

Access to Dataset
  • Vulnerable Populations for Malaria (XLS file, 43kb)

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