Jan 17, 2023

Climate Change and RMNCAH (Reproductive Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health): An Evidence Gap Map Exercise

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Climate change and extreme weather events like floods, droughts, and global temperature rise have impacted human health in an unprecedented way. All populations, whether in high, low- or middle-income countries, are affected by climate change. However, there are vulnerable populations affected by climate change who deserve greater attention, i.e., women and girls of reproductive ages and children disproportionately impacted by extreme weather conditions. During extreme weather events, women and girls may lose vital access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services due to restricted mobility and damage to health facilities, roads, and other essential infrastructure. They and their newborns are more vulnerable to sexual violence, sexual exploitation, abuse, trafficking, and intimate partner violence, while child marriage and unplanned pregnancies increase as more girls are forced to drop out of school. There is an urgent need to recognize the burden that climate change inflicts on women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health and rights.

In this project will assemble a team of experts from four WUN-affiliated universities spanning

four continents: the University of Alberta, the University of Ghana, the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), and the University of Sheffield to (i) investigate the impact of climate change on maternal, child, and adolescent health; (ii) explore the strategies outlined to address these issues and research gaps in the literature.We will conduct an Evidence Gap Map (EGM) of literature on studies focusing on climate change and its impact on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH). EGM is best suits to identify gaps requiring filling with new evidence, collections of studies for review, and increase the discoverability and use of studies by decision-makers, policymakers, and researchers. They present a visual overview of existing evidence using a framework of policy-relevant interventions and outcomes and provide access to user-friendly summaries of the included studies.

This project will tackle a high-priority issue of global significance—climate change effects on RMNCAH, which is relevant to two WUN Global Challenges. This project brings together researchers interdisciplinary and diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds. The engagement of WUN members from multiple countries will provide an international context to address the data gaps and highlight research by WUN partner organizations on this important global matter.