HABVIA: Heat adaptation benefits for vulnerable groups in Africa


  • Prof Guy Howard

    University of Bristol, United Kingdom

  • Prof Ama de-Graft Aikins

    University of Ghana, Ghana

  • Prof Lara Dugas

    University of Cape Town, South Africa

  • Prof Chris Gordon

    University of Ghana, Ghana

  • Prof Mark New

    University of Cape Town, South Africa

  • Dr Thandi Kapwata

    South African Medical Research Council, South Africa

Project summary

Robust evaluation of the environmental, health and socio-economic outcomes of heat adaptations are limited for Africa, especially in real-world settings, despite high vulnerability to heat-related health risk. HABVIA aims to address these evidence gaps by gathering high-quality cohort data on physiological and mental health, alongside climate, environmental and socio-economic information, in four heat-vulnerable study sites in Ghana and South Africa where heat adaptations are underway or can easily be implemented because of pre-existing community-health research partnerships. The project will focus on physical and behavioural adaptation for two vulnerable groups, manual labourers and informal/low-income house dwellers, as well as the development and testing of adaptation-relevant heat warning systems. Capacity building of African health-climate researchers will be leveraged via two African research assistants who will enroll for PhDs, one UK PhD student, ideally from a developing country, three African post-doctoral researchers, development and delivery of heat-adaptation summer/winter training schools, and pro-active engagement in the growing Africa and global health-climate communities of practice. HABVIA's interdisciplinary team comprises leading researchers from climate risk and adaptation science, climate-health research, public health, international development and behavioural science, with collaborators from national meteorological agencies and humanitarian/development non-governmental organisations.