The Climate and Health Interdisciplinary Research Programme (CHIRP) at Leeds is based in the Priestly International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. CHIRP@LEEDS is a joint collaboration across the climate and global health themes, and partners the Leeds School of Earth and Environment, and the Leeds Institute for Health Sciences, including the Nuffield Centre for Global Health and Development. Led by Professor Lea Berrang-Ford, the programme integrates interdisciplinary expertise across Leeds faculties, including strengths in public health, epidemiology, medicine, engineering, climate science, nutrition, and geography.
IHACC project leads Dr. James Ford, Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford, and Dr. Sherilee Harper were in Uganda this week with Dr. Shuaib Lwasa and Didacus Namanya for a series of project meetings in Buhoma and Kampala, and partner community visits in and around Bwindi.
The team first met with partners and collaborators in Buhoma last week to discuss and plan for future IHACC project work in Uganda. After successful and productive meetings there and visits to partnering Batwa communities and Bwindi Community Hospital (BCH), the team returned to Kampala for additional meetings before they head back to Canada.
In Kampala, the team was invited to speak on it experience with team building and mentorship through the IHACC project at the departmental meeting of Makerere University's Department of Geography. This was a great opportunity for the team to share experiences from the last 4 years of the project, and create new relationships for future research and collaboration.
A noteworthy output of these meetings is an invitation for Dr. Lwasa to come to Montreal for additional collaborative work at McGill University in the Fall with the Canadian IHACC team from Dr. Ford.
More to come from IHACC-Uganda as the project enters its final year!
The IHACC-Uganda team put together a draft emerging results booklet of recent research on the burden, seasonality, lived experience, and health seeking behavior options for acute gastrointestinal illness among the Batwa of Kanungu District, Uganda. The emerging results booklet features quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods analyses from three undergraduate honours theses from IHACC students: Sierra Clark (McGill), Alison Sumner (University of Guelph) and Laura-Jane Weber (University of Guelph). The IHACC team is currently receiving feedback on the results and a sample of booklets are being distributed to local stakeholders and community members in Kanungu.
It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through our time in Bwindi. Things have been going very well, and we are looking forward to making the most of our last two weeks here!
We have had the opportunity to visit six communities in Kanungu District—two Bakiga and four Batwa communities. In each visit, with Saba and Grace’s guidance and translations, we heard some of the stories of childbirth and delivery from the women in the community. These powerful narratives will be guiding our research as Vivienne investigates antenatal attendance and Sarah looks into how climate change may affect birth outcomes in the region.
For our brief mid-trip break, we had the chance to go visit Lake Bunyonyi, a lake in the Kabale District, near the border of Rwanda, rumoured to be the second deepest lake in Africa (up to 900 m deep!). We stayed in a “geodome” style house, with an open view of the night sky. Crawfish from the lake was on the menu – as well as dodo pizza! Before leaving, we headed out on the lake for a morning paddle in a dugout canoe – beautiful, made us feel like we were back in Canada.
Other gastronomic experiences: Sarah tried jackfruit for the first time and loved them! We will definitely be having more before departing. We also had supper at the Bwindi Community Hospital’s guest house, which was a great opportunity to interact more with folks from the hospital. We are looking forward to our remaining time here, with an upcoming visit from our supervisors Professor Berrang Ford and Professor Harper! They will be here with and with several other IHACC PI’s—Didacus Namanya, Dr. Lwasa, and Professor Ford. We will be continuing data entry at BCH and doing a few more key informant interviews as we wrap up our research over the next few weeks.