James Chirombo, PhD Candidate
DIGHR-Dignitas i2i Planetary Health Community Scholar (Alum)
As the inaugural “Planetary Health Community Scholar”, James will critically examine evidence and practice on the relationship between climate change and the rising burden of chronic and infectious diseases, food insecurity and malnutrition in Malawi. It is projected that this health burden will further increase due to accelerating climate change and extreme weather events. Under-resourced health systems and vulnerable populations in many global regions are disproportionately affected by the health burden associated with climate change. In Malawi, health care access is increasingly cut off because of climate-related extreme weather events including flooding. In addition, infectious diseases, such as malaria and schistosomiasis, are increasing in prevalence in Southern Africa due to rising temperatures and floods. James will work with scholars at the DIGHR and its partners to define a research agenda for programming that targets adaptation to the health impacts of climate change. James is a Malawian statistician currently in the final stages of his PhD in spatial statistics and epidemiology with Lancaster University in the Centre for Health Informatics, Computing and Statistics (CHICAS). His Phd is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). His research is focused on the statistical modelling of spatial processes of infectious disease transmission. He has a strong interest in modelling climatic impacts on climate-sensitive vector-borne diseases such as malaria. When he was working for the Malawi Ministry of Health, he was a focal person in the ministry for a project aimed at quantifying climatic and weather impacts on health in developing countries.