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NIHR awards over £20m to eight new global health research projects

The projects will focus on healthcare in LMICs in the event of extreme weather.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has awarded over £20m to eight new global health research projects to strengthen health service delivery and resilience in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), specifically in the context of extreme weather events.

Extreme weather events due to climate change, including tropical storms, droughts and floods, are increasingly common and are “a real threat to health across the globe – driving natural disasters… and disrupting people’s access to healthcare in many countries,” said Professor Lucy Chappell, chief executive officer, NIHR.

Over the next three to five years, awards ranging between £1m and £3m will be awarded through the NIHR’s Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) Programme to fund health research in LMICs.

The new projects follow the endorsement of the Declaration of Climate and Health by 124 countries in December last year, calling for action to achieve rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, a transition to sustainable healthy diets and lower air pollution.

The eight NIHR projects are being led by several universities and institutes, including the Universities of the West of Scotland, Sussex, Oxford and Birmingham, as well as the Malaria Consortium and Uganda Virus Research Institute.

The projects will focus on extreme weather challenges across several countries, combating several challenges such as improving business continuity for health services following extreme weather events and improving early warning and control of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in Uganda.

Other challenges include strengthening the responsiveness of health service provision, improving primary healthcare for patients with non-communicable diseases due to severe flooding and encouraging preparedness, planning, community co-design and protecting health systems.

In alignment with the World Health Organization’s operation framework for building climate-resilient health systems, “these new research projects will help find the best ways for healthcare to adapt to extreme weather and ensure that people can still get the care they need,” said Chappell.