Coastal Community Resilience to Climate and Diarrhoea


Start date: 2 March, 2020 End date: 1 March, 2025 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 19-10-GHA Countries: Ghana Thematic areas: Aquatic environment and resources, Climate change, Health, Lead institution: University of Ghana (UG), Ghana Partner institutions: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark People´s Dialogue on Human Settlements (PD), Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Project website: go to website (the site might be inactive) Project coordinator: Dzidzo Yirenya-Tawiah Total grant: 11,969,990 DKK

Project summary

Global climate change will impact human health in various ways, including increasing the occurrence of waterborne enteric diseases such as diarrhoea, especially in poor and vulnerable communities that have low adaptive capacity. The relationship between climate change and health is complex as many factors are interlinked, including mediating drivers such as ecosystem disruption and social and economic conditions. Diarrhoea is estimated to cause 1.31 million deaths per year, with nearly half a million deaths in children under 5 years. It impairs growth and cognitive development, as well as increases susceptibility to other infectious and chronic diseases. Evidence show a positive association between temperature, rainfall, drought, flooding and diarrhoea. The quantification of climate-related health impacts is limited due to lack of high-quality long-term empirical data and complex multi-directional impacts from cause-effect relations, hampering ability to address climate-mediated population vulnerabilities. Ghana is among the countries at most risk from climate change and diarrhoea.
Within the country, coastal communities have been identified as high-risk areas with increased incidences of flooding due to sea level rise, coastal erosion, storm surges, surface runoff, etc.
They are not only prone to regular flooding events but also to risk of unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene practices, and inadequate health care services leading to poor disease management. Alluding to all the complexities of climate change impacts and diarrhoea, amidst the socio-demographic and institutional linkages, the Coastal Communities Resilience to Climate and Diarrhoea project aims to generate long term data series to model the interactions between climatic, hydrological, environmental, epidemiological, institutional and socio-cultural determinants of diarrhoea. This research will help explore the dynamics of diarrhoeal diseases under various climatic, social and environmental scenarios, towards co-developing innovative and effective resilience solutions in coastal communities.


Midterm report
Objectives: The project is progressing according to its workplan in meeting its overall goal to build resilience to climate change and improve diarrhoeal management in coastal communities in Ghana. Under WPs 1, 2 and 3, data has been collected to understand (i) climate-related biophysical information, (ii) epidemiological, environmental and transmission pathways, and (iii) socio-cultural and economic factors for managing diarrhoea, respectively. WP 4 is currently collating and developing models for scenario predictions and WP5 has developed networks in the case study sites and frequently engaging with stakeholders.

Status for outputs: Extensive data has been generated by the WPs which are currently being developed in proposed visual and written outputs (journal papers, maps, information briefs, conference abstracts, etc.); a statistical model has been developed based on the results, which is currently being assessed; and a number of workshops, seminars and training programmes have been implemented for sharing of project findings so far.

Status for PhDs: All four PhD students have completed and passed their academic requirements and started data collection. All students actively participate in project activities and have presented their works at meetings and international conferences.

Joint activities: All partners have been actively engaged in the research process, attend monthly steering committee meetings, research team meetings, and project annual meetings.

Go back to all projects