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London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Malaria Centre



LINK programme (Strengthening the Use of Data for Malaria Decision Making in Africa)

LSHTM investigators:
Caroline Lynch, Amit Bhasin, Jayne Webster, Lauren Hashiguchi, Justin Parkhurst, Ruth Lorimer, Tessa Lennemann, Nicholas Dellasanta, Ludovica Ghilardi, Jieun Lee
External collaborators:
Robert Snow (Kenya Medical Research Institute [KEMRI] Wellcome Trust, Kenya [KWTRP])
Funding body:
Department for International Development (DFID)

The LINK programme began in October 2014 and is funded for four years under the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Strengthening the Use of Data for Malaria Decision Making in Africa in collaboration with the WHO-Africa Regional Office. The aim of this programme is to work in collaboration with national malaria control programmes and stakeholders in 13 countries with the highest burden of malaria to develop and support the use of malaria epidemiological profiles.

A considerable amount of data relevant to malaria control already exists. However, data are often not used as effectively as they could be. The LINK programme assembles data and presents it in a way that helps to inform malaria control activities. By working with stakeholders, the programme aims to increase the use of data to guide policy and operational decisions.

The LINK programme builds on a pilot project, funded by the DFID in 2013-2014. This was led by Prof Bob Snow and Prof Abdisalan Noor of the Kenya-based KEMRI-Wellcome Trust's INFORM team. They created malaria profiles for eight countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. The LINK programme is supported by DFID and run by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in partnership with the KWTRP team.

Helping countries maximise limited resources 

The programme is led by Dr Caroline Lynch (LSHTM) and KWTRP's Prof Bob Snow. The aim is to support Ministries of Health to target resources where they are most needed, maximising value for money through the local adoption of global recommendations and their adaptation to the local epidemiology and health system.

The programme will identify, gather and analyse data on where the disease is, the local mosquito vectors and which interventions are in place and which are needed. The resulting malaria profiles will be presented in the context of other relevant information, including the country's malaria control history and its health system's structure and function. In parallel, our programme staff will work to understand decision-making structures and processes in countries in order to facilitate the use of the epidemiological profiles.

In addition to developing updated profiles for seven of the original countries from 2013-2014, the current phase (Phase II) of the programme includes five new countries: Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal. Sierra Leone, Republic of Sudan and South Sudan. Phase II also includes evaluation of several country projects to understand how the profiles have been used to guide decision-making as well as to understand the unique political economy of decision-making in each country. LINK is also working to create communities of practice around information use and strengthening routine health information systems, in collaboration with several partner organisations.

To find out more about LINK please go to the LINK website ( or contact us: LINK [at] lshtm [dot] ac [dot] uk.