Ghana is located in West Africa, on the Gulf of Guinea. The climate is tropical, with warm and dry weather along the southeast coast, hot and humid weather in the southwest, and hot, arid weather in the north. Climate and its variability have a major impact on the public health system in Ghana. However, there is also a marked influence of human activity such as the formation of irrigation systems on vector-borne disease transmission (e.g. Binka et al. 1994).
Malaria in Ghana is hyper-endemic and it is the single most important cause of morbidity, accounting for about 44.5% of all outpatient attendance in hospitals. It is responsible for the deaths of 20,000 children under the age of five every year (MOP-PMI, 2007). According to the World Malaria Report of 2008 (WHO, 2008), Ghana had an estimated 7.2 million malaria cases in 2006 (ranking 8th worldwide) attributed mainly to Plasmodium falciparum.
The QWeCI study in Ghana will be based in Kumasi, which is situated in an area of near year-round malaria transmission. It thus has both varying local transmission patterns on an annual basis due to location, land use and socio-economic factors. Initial results from the AMMA show how malaria varies from area to area in peri-urban Kumasi.
The Ghana pilot project seeks to examine malaria transmission in rural, peri-urban and urban settings near Kumasi, Ghana. GIS and GPS tools will be used to map possible malaria risk areas. Climate variability and human ecological and environmental factors will be examined to determine impact on the incidence of malaria in the target groups and different settings, based on statistical models. Finally, a Decision Support System Will be developed, to serve as an early warning system and as a tool to assess the effectiveness of intervention and control measures.