Community-led solutions to climate-related health hazards

Empowering and harnessing the power of communities to tackle health threats posed by climate change in Sindhupalchok district in Nepal

Over the next three months, Scope will be joining forces with Medic to address climate change triggered health hazards in Nepal. Together with community health workers, community leaders and health system actors, we will research and co-design new solutions for supporting the prevention and management of climate-related health risks at community level. We will conduct the research in Sindhupalchok district, which has a history of natural disasters, particularly landslides and floods, due to its rugged topography and proximity to the Himalayas. These disasters have had a significant impact; causing loss of life, illness, displacement, and damage to infrastructure and property. The district is increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters, and related health consequences, due to the impact of climate change.

Through multiple iterative rounds of research and prototyping, we will explore particularly how community health workers, when supported by other community and health system actors, can identify risks and take actions to mitigate the health impacts of climate change. Community health workers, in many countries, provide a vital connection between communities and the health system. They are also the closest health system actors and most able to respond quickly when disasters strike. We aim to learn what risks the population is facing, who is the most vulnerable, and how they have responded to disasters in the past – learning from previous experience. We will then test low fidelity prototypes of a digital tool that can help community health workers to not only identify risks, but also select and implement relevant solutions, as well as feed vital information into the system to assist with better planning and preparedness.

Based on learnings from the discovery and co-designed community health interventions, we will seek to build a prototype of a scalable AI and data-driven tool for climate resilience to be employed by community health workers and other system actors.

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