A small region in Africa has become a hub for the spread of infectious diseases. Scholars are calling for targeted health support, not a nationwide response.

A new study published in the journal BMJ Global Health has found high prevalence of three infectious diseases in the Gambela region of western Ethiopia, which borders South Sudan. These are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis and malaria.

“HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are the three most serious infectious diseases in the world, causing high levels of morbidity and mortality, especially in low- and middle-income countries,” the scientists explain in a press release.

A new study has found that Ethiopia’s Gambela region, home to more than 330,000 people, is the world’s top hotspot for high cases of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The high prevalence of these three diseases in the region is due to poor case management and weak healthcare systems along the border, the scientists say. To solve the problem, they are calling for targeted healthcare support. “Supporting local services will be more effective than working with national departments,” experts emphasize.

The study also showed that the Gambela region is characterized by low levels of access to healthcare, a low socio-economic index, as well as high temperatures and high rainfall.