What is it about?

Malaria and parasitic worms frequently co-exist among children living in the poorest countries of the world, but little is known about the specific locations of the combined infections involving the two major parasitic diseases and how they interact and change over the years. We used open access data collected by two public registries, that is, the Malaria Atlas Project and Expanded Special Project for the Elimination of NTDs, to understand the overlap of the two diseases in different parts of Africa, where their co-distributions are more predominant. We found significant differences in the distribution patterns of the combined diseases across different parts of Africa, with large concentrations identified in Central and West Africa. For example, double infections with malaria and hookworm were more common in West and Central Africa, whereas malaria and roundworm, and malaria and whipworm were predominantly found in Central Africa. A large collection of the dual infections was also found in some localities within the countries which appeared to have low burden of the two diseases.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

These findings provide useful insights into the areas which could be serving as a reservoir to propagating the transmission of the two diseases. The results of this study could also be used to develop and implement integrated control programmes for malaria and parasitic worms, and this could help to achieve the WHO NTD roadmap to ending the neglect to attain Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.


I hope this article simplifies what people might think is boring and abstract like using geospatial tools to understand the magnitude of the burden of infectious diseases in vulnerable populations. Because the way we spend money on health and social care is not just a problem for politicians, managers and researchers to worry about - it is an issue that touches every single human being on this planet in one way or another. More than anything else, I hope you find this article useful in identifying areas in Africa which require the attention of all stakeholders to plan and implement strategic interventions for elmination of malaria and neglected tropical diseases by 2030.

Muhammed Afolabi
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Prevalence and distribution pattern of malaria and soil-transmitted helminth co-endemicity in sub-Saharan Africa, 2000–2018: A geospatial analysis, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, September 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010321.
You can read the full text:

Open access logo



The following have contributed to this page