Population genetics and transmission dynamics of Plasmodium falciparum in the Kavango East and Zambezi regions of Namibia

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University of Namibia
In 2010, Namibia, declared a goal to eliminate malaria within its borders, this was revised in 2017 to 2022 due to new challenges in achieving elimination. Some of the key challenges associated with malaria control and elimination are; 1) a lack of comprehensive data including malaria case distribution and resources especially in Africa where the burden is highest 2) there is no accurate classification of imported and local malaria cases or quantification of the level of importation 3) a lack of validated tools to supplement transmission estimates. Malaria positive samples tested with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and dried blood spots (DBS) were collected with corresponding epidemiological data from health districts in the Kavango East and Zambezi regions of Namibia. DNA was extracted using the chelex DNA extraction method, the parasite DNA was genotyped with capillary electrophoresis using a 26 microsatellite marker set to determine P. falciparum genetic structure in the Kavango East and Zambezi regions of Namibia The study through population genetics analysis showed that the genetic structure of P. falciparum in Namibia follows the pattern of a high transmission setting, there are high levels of genetic diversity, low genetic relatedness, random mating and population admixture. Secondly, there are high levels of importation contributing to local transmission. Lastly, population genetic matrices are good surrogate markers for measuring malaria transmission intensity and importation.
A research dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Science (Biology)
Falciparum genetic, Genetic diversity