DS-I Africa Consortium Meeting 2023

CHaracterising Effects of Air Quality In Maternal, Newborn and Child Health: The CHEAQI-MNCH Research Project: an impact and attribution study


Background: Air pollution is responsible for 1 in 9 deaths worldwide and accounted for 6.7 million deaths in 2019 alone. It is the single leading risk factor for all deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. While much is known about the effects of poor air quality on maternal, newborn and child health, additional more localized evidence is needed in resource-constrained settings to design interventions that have impact at scale. Moreover, the synergistic effects of air pollution and with heat need to be further elucidated, especially in a warming world. This Project builds on the HE2AT Center platform by integrating complementary research questions on the adverse effects of air pollution on health, and especially maternal and child health. Approach: CHEAQI will develop and validate air pollution indicators using remotely sensed pollutant derivates, geospatial indicators and in-situ measurements. The project involves the harmonization of ambient air pollution and other air quality data from satellites and linking these data geospatially and temporally with prospectively collected health data from sub-Saharan African cohort studies and trials on maternal and neonatal health from the HE2AT Center. Through application of traditional statistical and innovative machine learning techniques, we will identify harmful environmental air quality exposures and the strengths of these associations with adverse outcomes for mothers and infants, and quantify the disease burden attributable to poor air quality. The project will then translate evidence on these place specific associations, into a mobile-based system that will be used for intervention. Expected Results: The output from CHEAQI will be a platform that will be used as an early warning tool to avert risk induced by pollution and build maternal, newborn and child health resilience. We will also translate knowledge to inform new policy and program priorities to reduce the effects of air pollution on MNCH.