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Spatial distribution of malaria problem in three regions of Ethiopia

Dawit G Ayele*, Temesgen T Zewotir and Henry G Mwambi

Author Affiliations

School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa

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Malaria Journal 2013, 12:207  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-207

Published: 17 June 2013



The transmission of malaria is the leading public health problem in Ethiopia. From the total area of Ethiopia, more than 75% is malarious. The aim of this study was to identify socio-economic, geographic and demographic risk factors of malaria based on the rapid diagnosis test (RDT) survey results and produce the prevalence map of the area illustrating variation in malaria risk.


This study accounts for spatial correlation in assessing the effects of socio- economic, demographic and geographic factors on the prevalence of malaria in Ethiopia. A total of 224 clusters of about 25 households each were selected from the Amhara, Oromiya and Southern Nation Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regions of Ethiopia. A generalized linear mixed model with spatial covariance structure was used to analyse the data where the response variable was the presence or absence of malaria using the RDT.


The results showed that households in the SNNP region were found to be at more risk than Amhara and Oromiya regions. Moreover, households which have toilet facilities clean drinking water, and a greater number of rooms and mosquito nets in the rooms, have less chance of having household members testing positive for RDT. Moreover, from this study, it can be suggested that incorporating spatial variability is necessary for understanding and devising the most appropriate strategies to reduce the risk of malaria.

Mixed model; Rapid diagnostic test; Spatial statistics; Variogram; Kriging