Across Africa, countries are planning to construct new dams to help drive economic growth and increase water security. Improved water storage for growing populations, irrigation and hydropower generation are indeed badly needed for our fast-developing continent.
In a new research paper published in the Malaria Journal, researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems found that over one million people in sub-Saharan Africa will contract malaria this year because they live near a large dam. This study quantified the correlation between the location of large dams and the incidence of malaria, and to quantify the impacts across the region. The study also found that construction of an expected 78 major new dams in sub-Saharan Africa over the next few years will lead to an additional 56,000 malaria cases annually.
African populations are already burdened by malaria. Africa accounts for 85 percent of malaria cases and 90 percent of malaria deaths worldwide, and every minute, a child dies from the disease.
But researchers note that despite growing evidence of the negative impact of dams on malaria, there is little effort or planning that goes into offsetting these negative effects.
You can read more about what these researchers recommend to manage malaria risks around dams here:
Study: Africans Near Dams 4 Times More Likely to Get Malaria—Voice of America