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

Dione, C., Talib, J., Bwaka, A. M., Kamga, A. F., Bita Fouda, A. A., Hirons, L. ORCID:, Latt, A., Thompson, E., Lingani, C., Indasi, V., Adefisan, E. A. and Woolnough, S. J. ORCID: (2022) Improved sub-seasonal forecasts to support preparedness action for meningitis outbreak in Africa. Climate Services, 28. 100326. ISSN 2405-8807

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.cliser.2022.100326


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:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:108342


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