Climate Change and Health Feasibility Study

Preparing health systems in Malawi and Canada for the negative impacts of climate change

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There is the growing evidence about the relationship between the causes and effects of climate change, and the rising burden of chronic and infectious diseases, food insecurity and malnutrition, and decline in mental health and wellbeing. In years to come, it is projected that the health burden will further increase due to accelerating climate change and extreme events. Under-resourced health systems and vulnerable populations in many global regions are affected disproportionately by the health burden associated with climate change. Therefore, a deep understanding of how the impacts of climate change and broader social determinants affect human health in these regions is needed to help design health interventions aimed at reducing the vulnerability of affected communities.

In underserved communities in Malawi and Northern Canada, Dignitas International has been working with health partners to improve provisioning of high quality and culturally safe healthcare as these populations face multiple social and geographic barriers that can impede their access. The added threat of extreme climate events and their impacts on land and food systems, livelihoods and infrastructures has amplified local health vulnerability and necessitates a focus on strengthening health system preparedness and resilience. Dignitas is carrying out a feasibility study to further explore the relationship between climate change and health in Malawi and Canada, with a focus on the particular challenges, priorities and opportunities that exist for health stakeholders and community members.

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The aim of the study is to explore the role Dignitas can play in supporting health systems in Malawi and Indigenous communities in Northern Canada on identified climate change and health priorities. In close collaboration with project partners and stakeholders, the study will determine options for intervention and programming by Dignitas to strengthen health capacity and preparedness for climate change, and build a knowledge translation platform. This will be achieved in three major elements: i) feasibility assessment, ii) analysis of potential engagement models that can support project stakeholders, and iii) recommendations of strategic options for Dignitas to expand their work within the field of climate change and members.

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Malawi and Northern Ontario

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January 2018

June 2018

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Study Lead
Dignitas International

Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University

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Innovation Team

Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook, PhD (Canada) & James Chirombo, MSc (Malawi)
Principal Investigators, Climate Change and Health Fellows, Dignitas International

Joshua Berman
Co-Investigator, Dignitas International

James Orbinski
Co-investigator, Director, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University
Professor, Faculty of Health, School of Health Policy & Management, York University


Read The Study

Download PDF

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For more information, please email Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook