In urban settings in malaria-endemic countries, malaria incidence is not well characterized and assumed to be typically very low and consisting largely of imported infections. In such contexts, surveillance systems should adapt to ensure that data are of sufficient spatial and temporal resolution to inform appropriate programmatic interventions. The aim of this research was to 1) assess spatial and temporal trends in reported malaria cases in Maputo City, Mozambique, using an expanded case notification form and 2) to determine how malaria surveillance can be optimized to characterize the local epidemiological context, which can then be used to inform targeted entomological investigations and guide implementation of localized malaria responses. This study took place in all six health facilities of KaMavota District in Maputo City, Mozambique. A questionnaire was administered to all confirmed cases from November 2019 to August 2021. Households of cases were retrospectively geolocated using local landmarks as reference. Overall, 2,380 malaria cases were reported, with the majority being uncomplicated (97.7%) and a median age of 21 years; 70.8% of cases had reported traveling outside the city in the past month with nine reporting traveling internationally. Maps of the 1,314 malaria cases that were geolocated showed distinct spatial patterns. The expanded case notification form enables a more granular overview of the malaria epidemiology in Maputo City; the geolocation data clearly show the areas where endemic transmission is likely, thus informing where resources should be prioritized. As urbanization is rapidly increasing in malaria endemic areas, identifying systems and key variables to collect ensures an operational way to characterize urban malaria through optimization of routine data to inform decision-making.
Financial support: This work is based on research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a grant to the Malaria Consortium. G. S. was supported by the Malaria Consortium (001/MCMOZ/2021). The findings and conclusions contained within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.