Project Profile: CHAMNHA

Climate, heat and maternal and neonatal health in Africa


Principal Investigators: Matthew Chersich, Co-Principal Investigator, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa R Sari Kovats, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom
Partners: Matthew Chersich, Co-Principal Investigator, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Caradee Wright, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
Jeremy Hess, University of Washington, United States
Britt Nakstad, University of Oslo, Norway
Nathalie Roos, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
John Marsham, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Sponsors: Forte, Sweden
RCN, Norway
UKRI, United Kingdom
WITS, South Africa


Full Project Title: Climate, heat and maternal and neonatal health in Africa
Full Call Title: CEH2019


Project Objective: Heat exposure complicates Maternal and Neonatal Health (MNH), increasing risk for maternal hemorrhage and sepsis, prematurity, low birth weight and neonatal dehydration. Few studies have assessed these impacts in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where maternal and neonatal deaths are frequent, facilities experience high indoor temperatures, health systems have low adaptive capacity and access to services is increasingly disrupted by climate events.

The proposed study (CHAMNHA) is the largest heat impact and MNH intervention study in SSA. A transdisciplinary team from 3 continents, spanning the natural, health and social sciences will address key knowledge gaps around heat and MNH in SSA in collaboration with stakeholders, employing qualitative and quantitative methods, implementation and evaluation science, and climate impact methods.

Work Package (WP) 1 will quantify impacts of heat exposure on MNH outcomes, using trial data, birth cohorts and other data sources from SSA, Norway and Sweden. We will characterize these impacts and identify sub-groups at high-risk. In WP2, qualitative research will document perceptions and local practices relating to heat exposure in pregnant women and neonates in Burkina Faso and Kenya. Then, in conjunction with pregnant women, male partners and health workers, we will co-design community- and facility-based interventions, such as improving preparedness for heat, e.g. through warning systems; changing behaviors and health worker practices to reduce heat impacts on MNH; training birth companions and traditional birth attendants on heat reduction during childbirth; and promoting breastfeeding and optimised hydration for women and neonates.

WP3 will test the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of selected interventions using a randomized design (Kenya) and pre-post study design (Burkina Faso). In WP4, building on established collaborations with stakeholders, ministries of health and WHO, we will translate research findings into recommendations for improved MNH practice, adaptation planning, and national and international policies.
Call Objective: To improve understanding of the pathways between climate, environment, and health to protect and promote human health and well-being in the face of climate challenges. Multilateral, inter- and transdisciplinary research projects will investigate where significant uncertainties exist that are barriers to action; address complex climate, ecosystem and health pathways to determine processes underlying causal links; and foster the use of scientific information and climate-related decision support tools to better inform planning and enhance resilience.


Regions: Africa, Europe, North America
Countries: Norway, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America (USA)


Duration: 48
Call Date: 14 March 2019
Project Award Date: 10 June 2020