S5E3 - Climate change solutions in The Gambia: Coproduction approaches with pregnant women, schoolchildren and farmers

Media 26 May 2022
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In this week’s episode we hear from Dr Ana Bonell and Dr. Aliyu Nuhu Ahmed from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine about environmental degradations from climate change that impact health in The Gambia. The expected increase in heat and reduced rainfall in The Gambia is one of the most significant health threats caused by climate change. However, little is known about the gendered dynamics of exposure and response to heat stress; changes in land use and transmission of zoonotic diseases and children’s ideas for the future. Our guests discuss how they are engaging communities in identifying solutions to climate change impacts on health and hear about: 

  • changes in agricultural land use due to climate change and how these impact health outcomes in rural communities, including transmission of zoonotic diseases  
  • a project with pregnant farmers in The Gambia to understand how they perceive and act upon occupational heat stress  
  • a “Climate Change Solutions Festival” with children in 50 schools who gave a unique insight into perceived climate change problems and scalable, affordable and creative solutions that could be implemented in their local area 
  •  co-production approaches and how they are situated within the wider decolonising health agenda 

Dr Ana Bonell, Clinical Research Fellow 

Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Dr. Ana Bonell is a Wellcome funded Clinical Research Fellow working on maternal health and climate change. She has training in epidemiology, tropical medicine and advanced physiology. She is particularly interested in the nexus between climate change, maternal health, occupational heat stress and agriculture. Her research focuses on pregnant subsistence farmers in West Africa and the impact of maternal exposure to high ambient temperature, the physiological response to that stress and the impact that has on fetal health and wellbeing. Additionally she is interested in connecting with, learning with and from the youth on climate problems and solutions to the current crisis.   

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2022.785254/full 

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2022.784915/full 

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.03.31.22273092v1 

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3965382 

Dr. Aliyu Nuhu Ahmed, PhD Student 

Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Rapid changes are occurring in agricultural systems in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Land-use changes, market dynamics, agricultural policy, environmental factors, cultural habits, and technology are all influencing and affecting crop farming techniques and animal husbandry for both commercial and subsistence purposes. However, the effects of these changes on zoonotic disease risk remain largely unknown, particularly in the world's poorest communities, where there is rising recognition that zoonotic illnesses have a significant impact on health and livelihoods. A better understanding of the mechanism by which environmental degradation endangers human health, especially in rural communities, will inform ways to optimise zoonotic disease risk mitigation and promote sustainable land-use that is more environmentally friendly. 

This is a podcast in the series: Connecting Citizens to Science, which focuses on health research based on equitable partnerships between researchers and communities.