Mitigating emerging climate-sensitive disease vectors amongst internally displaced communities in Somaliland


Start date: 1 April, 2024 End date: 31 March, 2029 Project type: Research projects in countries with extended development cooperation (earlier Window 1) Project code: 24-02-KU Countries: Somalia (incl. Somaliland) Thematic areas: Climate change, Gender equality, Health, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Roskilde University (RUC), Denmark Social Research and Development Institute (SORADI), Somaliland University of Hargeisa (UOH), Somaliland Project coordinator: Christian Wang Total grant: 10,393,256 DKK

Project summary

East Africa has experienced years of serious droughts exacerbated by the climate crisis. In Somaliland, due to climate change and the worst drought seen in 40 years, the magnitude of internally displaced people (IDP) fleeing from the drought has led to the creation of large-scale camps typically in or near the peri-urban outskirts of larger towns and cities to get access to basic services. Climate change also affects the global risk and spread of vector-borne diseases (VBDs). In particular, the occurrence of malaria parasites and dengue virus, as temperature and rainfall affects the mosquito vector population dynamics. The involuntary human displacement into urban settings has increased the exposure of already vulnerable people to urban mosquito populations and health risks such as malaria and dengue. The heighten risk is also driven by the recent emergence and spread of an urban-adapted malaria-transmitting mosquito species in East Africa.
In this project, we seek to address the implications of climate-change induced risk and burden of VBDs on populations in IDP camps with a focus on young children and pregnant women who are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of infection. This will be done to develop strategies and recommendations to mitigate the risk and burden of climate driven VBD.
We will develop procedures to screen for and determine spatiotemporal distribution and abundance of mosquito vectors in selected IDP camps and surrounding communities in Somaliland and establish procedures to measure and determine the burden of malaria and dengue and the risk predictors of VBDs in selected IDP camps and surrounding communities. We will evaluate weather patterns throughout the study period to associate the above to the climate in the study area. Whether, how, and to what extent climate-induced displacement exacerbates existing inequalities in access to prevention, control, and treatment of VBD will be assessed among households in the IDP camps.
This study will strengthen the local capacity for vector control and surveillance in high-risk communities and strengthen the health system by recommendations for the health sector to mitigate risks of VBDs at IDP camps and surrounding communities and as well, create awareness on risks of VBDs and community engagement to mitigate these challenges.

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