AAU and Partner Receive $3 Million for Research and Training

Addis Ababa, 14 October 2015: Addis Ababa University and the University of Southern California (USA) have received a grant of USD 3 million through joint US and Canada funding to launch GEO Health Hub for Research and Training in eastern Africa. The hub aims to establish the health risks of environmental pollution and degradation by generating reliable scientific evidence and to promote the translation of this evidence towards policies promoting sustainability and environmental protection.

The Universities have been awarded five-year paired grants to form a Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) hub for Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.AAU and USC, along with partners in Kenya (Maasai Mara University and Great Lakes University of Kisumu), Uganda (Makerere University), and Rwanda (University of Rwanda) have worked together to conduct country-wide situational analysis and needs assessments to better understand the current status and prioritize needs in several areas of environment and health.

With this new funding, AAU and its partners will expand these research initiatives to develop local evidence based in environmental and occupational health.

The grants were jointly funded by the U.S. National Institute of Health’s Fogarty International Center, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

It is expected that the newly funded GEOHealth hub will generate scientific evidence linking health and the environment through studies on air pollution and disease burden, air pollution and children’s health, and effect the of climate change on workers’ health in the four African countries. The hub will continue to engage strategic stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Forest, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, amongst others.

Many African countries have traditionally been heavily dependent on traditional agriculture to support their national economies. In recent years, however, countries have made a strategic shift towards industrialization and urbanization to improve the livelihood of their populations. However, there are growing concerns over the environmental and health costs related to rapid economic growth. These concerns have promoted a shift towards sustainable development throughout the region.

The GEO-Health hub for eastern Africa is part of global network of seven hubs financed by the same set of funding partners and including others based in India, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and West Africa. Efforts will be coordinated across this network through annual meetings in order to tackle common issues in environmental and occupational health.