High burden of malaria following scale-up of control interventions in Nchelenge District, Luapula Province, Zambia

Malar J. 2014 Apr 23;13:153. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-13-153.


Background: Malaria control interventions have been scaled-up in Zambia in conjunction with a malaria surveillance system. Although substantial progress has been achieved in reducing morbidity and mortality, national and local information demonstrated marked heterogeneity in the impact of malaria control across the country. This study reports the high burden of malaria in Nchelenge District, Luapula Province, Zambia from 2006 to 2012 after seven years of control measures.

Methods: Yearly aggregated information on cases of malaria, malaria deaths, use of malaria diagnostics, and malaria control interventions from 2006 to 2012 were obtained from the Nchelenge District Health Office. Trends in the number of malaria cases, methods of diagnosis, malaria positivity rate among pregnant women, and intervention coverage were analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Malaria prevalence remained high, increasing from 38% in 2006 to 53% in 2012. Increasing numbers of cases of severe malaria were reported until 2010. Intense seasonal malaria transmission was observed with seasonal declines in the number of cases between April and August, although malaria transmission continued throughout the year. Clinical diagnosis without accompanying confirmation declined from 95% in 2006 to 35% in 2012. Intervention coverage with long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying increased from 2006 to 2012.

Conclusions: Despite high coverage with vector control interventions, the burden of malaria in Nchelenge District, Zambia remained high. The high parasite prevalence could accurately reflect the true burden, perhaps in part as a consequence of population movement, or improved access to care and case reporting. Quality information at fine spatial scales will be critical for targeting effective interventions and measurement of progress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Malaria / mortality
  • Malaria / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Survival Analysis
  • Zambia / epidemiology