Dr Elizabeth Kimani-Murage
African Population and Health Research Centre
Climate change is a critical threat to the health of millions of vulnerable populations inhabiting the East African drylands. It affects the social and environmental determinants of health including access to sufficient food, leading to undernutrition and mental health challenges, through direct pathways such as increased heat, more frequent droughts and floods; and indirect pathways associated with land use changes and impacts on agricultural productivity. Malnutrition is projected as the greatest contributor to climate change-related morbidity and mortality. However, health impacts of climate change among vulnerable populations in the East African drylands remain largely unexposed, especially through formal attribution, documentation of lived experiences and engagement of practice and policy actors.
This project aims to highlight the health impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations in the East African drylands through research, public and policy engagement to catalyse climate policy and practice change. Specifically, the project will analyse historical climate, ecological and nutritional status data to quantify climate impacts on nutritional status, conduct primary research to document communities’ lived experiences with climate change impacts on nutritional status and mental health, and model future scenarios and costs of the impacts. The project team will also engage policy and practice actors to catalyse appropriate climate action.