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Articles

Review

A review of studies on community based early warning systems

Abstract

Community-based early warning systems involve community driven collection and analysis of information that enable warning messages to help a community to react to a hazard and reduce the resulting loss or harm. Most early warning systems are designed at the national or global level. Local communities’ capacity to predict weather conditions using indigenous knowledge has been demonstrated in studies focusing on climate change and agriculture in some African countries. This review was motivated by successes made in non-disease specific community-based early warning systems with a view to identify opportunities for developing similar systems for malaria. This article reviewed the existing community-based early warning systems documented in literature. The types of disasters that are addressed by these systems and the methodologies utilised in the development of the systems were identified. The review showed that most of the documented community-based early warning systems focus on natural disasters such as floods, drought, and landslides. Community-based early warning systems for human diseases are very few, even though such systems exist at national and regional and global levels. There is a clear gap in terms of community-based malaria early warning systems. The methodologies for the development of the community-based early warning systems reviewed mainly derive from the four elements of early warning systems; namely risk knowledge, monitoring, warning communication and response capability. The review indicated the need for the development of community based early warning systems for human diseases.

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