Fergus McBean

Use of Evidence Awards- Fergus McBean

Department for International Development |

In 2017 Yemen experienced the world’s worst cholera outbreak in a single year. By February 2018, over one million suspected cholera cases had been recorded since the end of April 2017.

A resurgence of the disease has been expected in 2018 during rainy season. Cholera is preventable and treatable if it is identified early. In response to this risk, Fergus McBean has led a ground breaking piece of work to use weather modelling to better inform cholera prevention in Yemen.

He facilitated the provision of critical early warnings in the form of weekly rainfall forecasting and a monthly cholera risk assessment. This is the first time in the world that these types of products have been used together in real time to tackle the spread of cholera providing more advanced notice of potential disease spikes. He secured predictive models combining NASA satellite data (measuring temperature, water storage, rainfall and topography) from the University of West Virginia, University of Maryland and weather forecasts from the UK Met Office to enable UN partners to respond faster and earlier to prevent outbreaks.