£2.4m funding for research into flood and heat resilience in maternal healthcare

UKRI awards funding to LSHTM researchers to explore potential impact of climate change on maternal and child healthcare
"It's vital that healthcare systems which may be impacted by climate change are supported to help protect their communities." Josephine Borghi, Professor of Health Economics, LSHTM

A team of researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM) Department of Global Health and Development have been awarded over £2.4 million by the UK Research and Innovation's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The grant will fund research over the next four years and will be used to explore the health systems that provide services to mothers and children in Brazil and Zambia. The project will focus on what makes the systems both vulnerable and resilient to two possible impacts of climate change, floods and heat.

ESRC’s large grants are awarded to ambitious social science-focused research with the potential to generate significant economic or societal impact.  

The LSHTM-led project will boost understanding of how floods and heat affect the delivery of maternal and child health care, and how health systems can be strengthened to build resilience. The research is of particular importance in low- and middle-income countries, where health systems are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to limited resources and greater exposure to climate hazards.

The team, led by Dr Josephine Borghi, Professor of Health Economics at LSHTM, will be working alongside global research partners with expertise across each location, including the University of Zambia and the University of Brasilia, as well as climate scientists at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis and experts on climate-resilient health systems at Lund University.

The award also includes a contribution of £500,000 by The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Dr Josephine Borghi said: “We’re excited to work together across institutions and disciplines to better understand how heat and flood resilience can be built into maternal healthcare systems.  

“Heat and floods both affect health systems worldwide, with mothers and children being especially vulnerable, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

“It’s vital that the healthcare systems which may be impacted by climate change are supported to help protect their communities.”

This research forms part of six new projects that have each received funding from ESRC to address a range of pressing regional, national and international issues, generating real impacts to benefit communities.

ESRC Executive Chair Stian Westlake said: “These large-scale projects bring together world class researchers to address important, global issues that affect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“The projects are a great example of how the ideas and inspiration of social science researchers can help shape our thinking on long-term societal challenges.”

Read more about the announcement on the UKRI website.

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