Understanding the relationship between land use/land cover and malaria in Nepal

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Virginia Tech

Malaria is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity globally. Land use/land cover (LULC) change have been found to affect the transmission and distribution of malaria in other regions, but no study has attempted to examine such relationships in Nepal. Therefore, this study was conducted in Nepal to assess LULC change between 2000 and 2010, to study the spatial and temporal trend of malaria incidence rate (MIR) between 1999 and 2015, and to understand the relationship between LULC and malaria. The land cover types used for this study are forest, water bodies, agriculture, grassland, shrubland, barren areas, built-up areas and paddy areas. Change detection techniques were used to study LULC change. The temporal trend of MIR in 58 districts, and the relationship between MIR and LULC were evaluated using Poisson and negative binomial regression. Forest, water bodies, snow cover, and built-up area increased in Nepal by 28.5%, 2.96%, 55.12% and 21.19% respectively while the rest of the LULC variables decreased. MIR decreased significantly in 21 districts; however, four districts namely Pyuthan, Kaski, Rupandehi and Siraha had a significantly increasing trend of MIR. During 2001, 2002, and 2003, MIR was positively related to water bodies and paddy areas. Similarly, MIR of 2010 was negatively related to grassland. However, there was no relationship between LULC and MIR in 2000, 2011, 2012 and 2013. It may be because MIR is decreasing significantly in the country and thus the influence of LULC change is also decreasing.

Malaria, Land Use/Land Cover Change, Poisson Regression, Negative Binomial Regression