Improved sub-seasonal forecasts to support preparedness action for meningitis outbreak in Africa

Dione, Cheikh ORCID:; Talib, Joshua ORCID:; Bwaka, Ado A.; Kamga, Andre F.; Bita Fouda, Andre A.; Hirons, Linda ORCID:; Latt, Anderson; Thompson, Elisabeth; Lingani, Clement; Indasi, Victor Savatia; Adefisan, Elijah A.; Woolnough, Steve J. ORCID: 2022 Improved sub-seasonal forecasts to support preparedness action for meningitis outbreak in Africa. Climate Services, 28, 100326. 10, pp.

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West African countries are hit annually by meningitis outbreaks which occur during the dry season and are linked to atmospheric variability. This paper describes an innovative co-production process between the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD; forecast producer) and the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO; forecast user) to support awareness, preparedness and response actions for meningitis outbreaks. Using sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) forecasts, this co-production enables ACMAD and WHO AFRO to build initiative that increases the production of useful climate services in the health sector. Temperature and relative humidity forecasts are combined with dust forecasts to operationalize a meningitis early warning system (MEWS) across the African meningitis belt with a two-week lead time. To prevent and control meningitis, the MEWS is produced from week 1 to 26 of the year. This study demonstrates that S2S forecasts have good skill at predicting dry and warm atmospheric conditions precede meningitis outbreaks. Vigilance levels objectively defined within the MEWS are consistent with reported cases of meningitis. Alongside developing a MEWS, the co-production process provided a framework for analysis of climate and environmental risks based on reanalysis data, meningitis burden, and health service assessment, to support the development of a qualitative roadmap of country prioritization for defeating meningitis by 2030 across the WHO African region. The roadmap has enabled the identification of countries most vulnerable to meningitis epidemics, and in the context of climate change, supports plans for preventing, preparing, and responding to meningitis outbreaks.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Hydro-climate Risks (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2405-8807
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link
Additional Keywords: S2S forecast data, meningitis early warning system, co-production, meningitis outbreak, African meningitis belt
NORA Subject Terms: Health
Meteorology and Climatology
Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 18 Oct 2022 15:53 +0 (UTC)

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