HEALTHY FUTURES : Health, Environmental Change and Adaptive Capacity | Mapping, examining and anticipating future risks of water-related vector-borne diseases in Eastern Africa.

Funding: EC FP7

Duration: 01/11 – 12/14

Project Partners: Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland – (TCD) | Earth Systems Physics, The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy – (ICTP) | Paris-Lodron Universität Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria – (PLUS) | Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden – (SMHI) | University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya – (UoN) | AquaTT, Dublin, Ireland – (AquaTT) | International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya – (ILRI) | National University of Rwanda, Butare, Rwanda (NUR) | Stockholm Environment Institute, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – (SEI) | Community Health Department, Ministry of Health, Uganda – (CH) | Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya – (KEMRI) | TRAC Plus, Ministry of Health, Kigali, Rwanda – (TRAC Plus) | University of Cape Town, Cape Town | South Africa – (UCT) | University of Durham, Stockton on Tees, UK – (UDUR) | University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK – (UNILIV) | National University of Singapore, Singapore – (NUS)



Environmental change, such as climate change, will affect and impact human health, which is a major concern for the global community. The effects will however be felt most acutely among the poorest members of society. Much concern has focused on the future distribution and spread of infectious diseases, and in particular the negative health impacts of changes in transmission and outbreaks of vector-borne diseases (or VBDs) as a result of climate change. The impacts may be direct, in terms of outbreaks of disease among human populations, or indirect, in the form of outbreaks of diseases that affect domesticated animals or plants, and therefore jeopardise food security, agriculture-based economic activities and trade.

The HEALTHY FUTURES project is motivated by the concern for these impacts. It aims to respond to this concern through construction of a disease risk mapping system for three water-related, high-impact VBDs (malaria, Rift Valley fever and schistosomiasis) in eastern Africa, taking into account environmental/climatic trends and changes in socio-economic conditions to predict future risk.

Specific research input:

  • Development of an adapted conceptual risk and vulnerability framework applicable in the context of vector-borne diseases and climate change.
  • Mapping vulnerability hot spots for Malaria, Schistosomiasis and Rift Valley Fever in Eastern Africa.
  • Further enhancements of the modelling of integrated geons through the integration of statistical pre-processing routines.
  • Development of an innovative web-based decision support system and metadataportal.
  • Development of vulnerability scenarios based on the new IPCC/SSPs approach.
  • Supervision of a PhD student in Rwanda.

Research Highlights:
The intention of the open-source based HEALTHY FUTURES Atlas is to integrate and present key results of the HEALTHY FUTURES project. It provides information on past, present and future conditions of risk and its sub-domains to malaria, schistosomiasis and Rift Valley Fever and allows the exploration and visualisation of results through web-based interactive tools. Overall it aims to provide meaningful and guided access to information on climate change, potentiality of disease occurrence and population vulnerability for vector borne diseases for the East African region. Additionally, it offers direct access to downloadable datasets and metadata integrated in the HEALTHY FUTURES Metadataportal.

Publication highlights:

  • Bizimana, J.P., Twarabamenye, E., Kienberger, S., 2015. Assessing the social vulnerability to malaria in Rwanda. Malaria Journal, 14(2),
  • Kienberger, S., Hagenlocher, M., 2014. Spatial-explicit modeling of social vulnerability to malaria in East Africa. International Journal of Health Geographics, 13(29),

Involved ISI staff: Dr. Stefan Kienberger, Peter Zeil, Dr. Michael Hagenlocher