Tanzania’s southern highlanders have long worried about pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses brought on by the cool, wet weather. But as climate change contributes to warmer temperatures in the region, residents are facing a new health threat: malaria.
In Rungwe, a highland district in the south-western Mbeya region bordering Malawi and Zambia, malaria is fast replacing coughs, fever and pneumonia as the most serious local health problem. The change has taken by surprise the region’s residents, who live over 1,000 metres (3,200 feet) above sea level and outside Tanzania’s traditional malarial zones. In 2009, health centres in Rungwe district reported 100,966 malaria cases, a jump of 25 percent from 2006, hospital records show.