Publications

Total: 140
Productive disruption: opportunities and challenges for innovation in infectious disease surveillance.
BMJ Global Health, (2018) .
Author(s): Caroline O. Buckee, Maria I E Cardenas, June Corpuz, Arpita Ghosh, Farhana Haque, Jahirul Karim, Ayesha S. Mahmud, Richard J Maude, Keitly Mensah, Nkengafac Villyen Motaze, Maria Nabaggala, Charlotte Jessica Eland Metcalf, Sedera Aurélien Mioramalala, Frank Mubiru, Corey M. Peak, Santanu Pramanik, Jean Marius Rakotondramanga, Eric Remera, Ipsita Sinha, Siv Sovannaroth, Andrew J Tatem, Win Zaw
Type: method. Year: 2018
DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2017-000538.

Abstract: Infectious diseases place an unacceptable and disproportionate social and economic burden on low-income countries. National disease control programmes have the difficult task of allocating limited budgets for interventions across regions of their countries, based on often disparate datasets of varying quality from a range of sources including clinics, hospitals, village health workers, the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Every stage of the data collection and analysis pipeline for surveillance systems may be affected by a lack of capacity as well as by biases and misaligned incentives for reporting and managing data. Addressing these issues will be essential for effective reduction in the burden of endemic infectious diseases globally as well as to preparing for emerging epidemic threats. Meanwhile, academic researchers—often in high-income settings—are developing increasingly sophisticated methods to collect and analyse data to improve spatial estimates of disease burden using new Big Data sources, mobile-Health or m-Health approaches or mechanistic and statistical modelling techniques. While these advances leap ahead, however, many remain most useful for estimating global disease distribution,1 rather than for national control programme prioritisation. Translating these new techniques to inform policy in endemic settings remains challenging. The pronounced disconnect between health systems and academia may limit the utility of new approaches. The high burden of work placed on healthcare workers in low-income settings further limits their scope and time available for engagement with methodological developments. Despite ongoing challenges to implementation, however, there are promising analytical approaches that can leverage even patchy and low-quality data and diverse new data streams that can be productively harnessed to strengthen strategies for resource allocation when integrated with existing surveillance systems. We detail the data and analysis challenges faced by national disease control programmes, outline possible solutions offered by analytical approaches and new data-streams and conclude by outlining barriers to implementation.
Link to paper


Mapping road network communities for guiding disease surveillance and control strategies
Scientific Reportsvolume 8, Article number: 4744 (2018) .
Author(s): Emanuele Strano, Matheus P. Viana, Alessandro Sorichetta & Andrew J. Tatem.
Type: method. Year: 2018
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-22969-4.

Abstract: Human mobility is increasing in its volume, speed and reach, leading to the movement and introduction of pathogens through infected travelers. An understanding of how areas are connected, the strength of these connections and how this translates into disease spread is valuable for planning surveillance and designing control and elimination strategies. While analyses have been undertaken to identify and map connectivity in global air, shipping and migration networks, such analyses have yet to be undertaken on the road networks that carry the vast majority of travellers in low and middle income settings. Here we present methods for identifying road connectivity communities, as well as mapping bridge areas between communities and key linkage routes. We apply these to Africa, and show how many highly-connected communities straddle national borders and when integrating malaria prevalence and population data as an example, the communities change, highlighting regions most strongly connected to areas of high burden. The approaches and results presented provide a flexible tool for supporting the design of disease surveillance and control strategies through mapping areas of high connectivity that form coherent units of intervention and key link routes between communities for targeting surveillance.
Link to paper


Spatially disaggregated population estimates in the absence of national population and housing census data
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Mar 2018.
Author(s): N. A. Wardrop, W. C. Jochem, T. J. Bird, H. R. Chamberlain, D. Clarke, D. Kerr, L. Bengtsson, S. Juran, V. Seaman and A. J. Tatem
Type: method. Year: 2018
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1715305115.

Abstract: Population numbers at local levels are fundamental data for many applications, including the delivery and planning of services, election preparation, and response to disasters. In resource-poor settings, recent and reliable demographic data at subnational scales can often be lacking. National population and housing census data can be outdated, inaccurate, or missing key groups or areas, while registry data are generally lacking or incomplete. Moreover, at local scales accurate boundary data are often limited, and high rates of migration and urban growth make existing data quickly outdated. Here we review past and ongoing work aimed at producing spatially disaggregated local-scale population estimates, and discuss how new technologies are now enabling robust and cost-effective solutions. Recent advances in the availability of detailed satellite imagery, geopositioning tools for field surveys, statistical methods, and computational power are enabling the development and application of approaches that can estimate population distributions at fine spatial scales across entire countries in the absence of census data. We outline the potential of such approaches as well as their limitations, emphasizing the political and operational hurdles for acceptance and sustainable implementation of new approaches, and the continued importance of traditional sources of national statistical data
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Measles outbreak risk in Pakistan: exploring the potential of combining vaccination coverage and incidence data with novel data-streams to strengthen control
Epidemiology and Infection, 1-9. .
Author(s): Amy Wesolowski, Amy Winter, Andrew J. Tatem, Taimur Qureshi, Kenth Engø-Monsen, Caroline O. Buckee, Derek A. T. Cummings and C. Jessica E. Metcalf.
Type: method. Year: 2018
DOI: 10.1017/S0950268818001449.

Abstract: Although measles incidence has reached historic lows in many parts of the world, the disease still causes substantial morbidity globally. Even where control programs have succeeded in driving measles locally extinct, unless vaccination coverage is maintained at extremely high levels, susceptible numbers may increase sufficiently to spark large outbreaks. Human mobility will drive potentially infectious contacts and interact with the landscape of susceptibility to determine the pattern of measles outbreaks. These interactions have proved difficult to characterise empirically. We explore the degree to which new sources of data combined with existing public health data can be used to evaluate the landscape of immunity and the role of spatial movement for measles introductions by retrospectively evaluating our ability to predict measles outbreaks in vaccinated populations. Using inferred spatial patterns of accumulation of susceptible individuals and travel data, we predicted the timing of epidemics in each district of Pakistan during a large measles outbreak in 2012–2013 with over 30 000 reported cases. We combined these data with mobility data extracted from over 40 million mobile phone subscribers during the same time frame in the country to quantify the role of connectivity in the spread of measles. We investigate how different approaches could contribute to targeting vaccination efforts to reach districts before outbreaks started. While some prediction was possible, accuracy was low and we discuss key uncertainties linked to existing data streams that impede such inference and detail what data might be necessary to robustly infer timing of epidemics
Link to paper