The study will focus on communities found along the eastern and central coastline of the country, which are the most vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding incidents. The research will help explore the complexities and dynamics of diarrhoeal diseases under various climatic, social and environmental scenarios towards co-developing innovative and effective resilience solutions in coastal communities. Transdisciplinary processes will be used to engage multi-level and multi-sectoral stakeholders from the beginning to ensure that knowledge generated will be owned by all for better uptake. Training and awareness-raising activities will improve awareness and enhance understanding of climate change impacts on diarrhoea and ways to develop resilient health systems. Knowledge products will be made available to policy and decision-makers to provide country-specific, evidence-based solutions towards addressing climate related health risks in coastal communities.
Global climate change is expected to severely impact human health in various ways, including increasing the occurrence of waterborne enteric diseases, especially in poor and vulnerable communities that have low adaptive capacity. The relationship between climate change and health is however complex as many factors are interlinked, and include mediating drivers such as ecosystem disruption, biodiversity loss and social and economic conditions. As a result, promoting climate resilient health solutions require a comprehensive approaches developed with multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral participation.
In Ghana, health is prioritized in the current national development agenda, the Coordinated
Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies (2017-2024), as well as in sectoral
frameworks that address public and environmental health. These include the Public Health Act
(2012, Act 851), Ghana National Action Plan for Health Security (2018), and National Climate
Change Policy (2016) and its Action Plan (2015-2020). Currently, a national One Health Policy
is being developed to provide a collaborative strategy for addressing health risks that are
interlinked across the human-animal-environment sectors. Achieving national health objectives
therefore requires greater cooperation between various actors within and across multiple
agencies, working at local, national and global levels. In recognition of these multi-sectoral and
multi-level complexities, the C2R-CD project intends to employ a comprehensive approach to
co-design interventions through participatory processes and transdisciplinary based approaches
for developing the resilience of coastal communities to climate change and diarrhoeal diseases.
Local partners from both the public and private sectors who have extensive experience in
participatory stakeholder processes will play a key role in the implementation of the project.
The project will be implemented through five work packages (WPs): WP1 will generate climate
related biophysical information, and WP2 will assess the epidemiological, environmental drivers
and transmission pathways issues of the project. WP3 will explore the socio-cultural and
economic factors and community level institutional arrangements in disaster risk management
and diarrhoea prevention and management. Data generated from WPs 1-3 will be collated and
modelled for scenario predictions in WP4 to inform disease management. WP5 will integrate
community participation into the research process and implementation of innovative strategies
that will be informed by the various WPs, particularly WP4.
Each WP will have one lead and one co-lead academic researcher, however, other
researchers with relevant expertise will be included at different stages of the research process.
WPs 1-4 will each have 1 PhD student who will be fully supported by the project (tuition and
field costs) to build their capacity in the various disciplines covered by this project (Marine
Science, Public Health, Environmental Science, and Modelling). The non-academic partner
institutions will provide support to the participatory processes with local communities and
institutions for knowledge sharing and development of innovative solutions. Ethical permission
will be sought from relevant ethical review boards, such as the Ethical Review Boards of the
College of Basic and Applied Science (CBAS), University of Ghana, and the Noguchi Memorial
Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) in Ghana.