Malaria surveillance data provide opportunity to develop forecasting models. Seasonal variability in environmental factors correlate with malaria transmission, thus the identification of transmission patterns is useful in developing prediction models. However, with changing seasonal transmission patterns, either due to interventions or shifting weather seasons, traditional modelling approaches may not yield adequate predictive skill. Two statistical models,a general additive model (GAM) and GAMBOOST model with boosted regression were contrasted by assessing their predictive accuracy in forecasting malaria admissions at lead times of one to three months. Monthly admission data for children under five years with confirmed malaria at the Siaya district hospital in Western Kenya for the period 2003 to 2013 were used together with satellite derived data on rainfall, average temperature and evapotranspiration(ET). There was a total of 8,476 confirmed malaria admissions. The peak of malaria season changed and malaria admissions reduced overtime. The GAMBOOST model at 1-month lead time had the highest predictive skill during both the training and test periods and thus can be utilized in a malaria early warning system.
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