Understanding the risks and benefits of newly developed irrigation schemes in western Kenya in the context of malaria elimination


  • Dr Oscar Mbare

    International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology

Project summary

Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is growing quickly and it has been recognised that food security can only be achieved by increasing agricultural production. This requires using irrigation to expand crop cultivation to unexploited land areas. Kenya has planned several large-scale irrigation schemes to improve nutrition and people’s socio-economic status and quality of life. Unfortunately, irrigated agriculture may also have adverse health effects, by intensifying of mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria. Irrigation will lead to an increase in potential breeding sites for mosquitoes but whether this will consequently lead to an increase in cases of malaria depends on the interaction of environmental, behavioural and economic factors.

This study will investigate changes in land use, cropping systems and the distribution of water that are suitable for mosquitoes and relate these to potential changes in people’s mosquito prevention behaviour, changes in socio-economic status and nutrition in children of households benefiting from the agricultural production compared with those not benefitting. It will also investigate the diversity and numbers of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes in homes and malaria parasite infection in children.

The study will provide data for policy makers so that they can improve planning of irrigation systems without having a negative effect on health.

This grant was awarded under the scheme's previous name of Training Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.