Co-morbidity of malnutrition with falciparum malaria parasitaemia among children under the aged 6-59 months in Somalia: a geostatistical analysis
BACKGROUND: Malnutrition and malaria are both significant causes of morbidity and mortality in African children. However, the extent of their spatial comorbidity remains unexplored and an understanding of their spatial correlation structure would inform improvement of integrated interventions. We aimed to determine the spatial correlation between both wasting and low mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and falciparum malaria among Somalian children aged 6-59 months. METHODS: Data were from 49 227 children living in 888 villages between 2007 to 2010. We developed a Bayesian geostatistical shared component model in order to determine the common spatial distributions of wasting and falciparum malaria; and low-MUAC and falciparum malaria at 1 x 1 km spatial resolution. RESULTS: The empirical correlations with malaria were 0.16 and 0.23 for wasting and low-MUAC respectively. Shared spatial residual effects were statistically significant for both wasting and low-MUAC. The posterior spatial relative risk was highest for low-MUAC and malaria (range: 0.19 to 5.40) and relatively lower between wasting and malaria (range: 0.11 to 3.55). Hotspots for both wasting and low-MUAC with malaria occurred in the South Central region in Somalia. CONCLUSIONS: The findings demonstrate a relationship between nutritional status and falciparum malaria parasitaemia, and support the use of the relatively simpler MUAC measurement in surveys. Shared spatial distribution and distinct hotspots present opportunities for targeted seasonal chemoprophylaxis and other forms of malaria prevention integrated within nutrition programmes.