Seed Funding Competition Year 2007 - 2008

In order to help achieve the goals of the Earth Clinic, a competition for project seed money was held. The Earth Clinic Steering Committee received 5 proposals. The proposals were reviewed by the Earth Clinic Steering Committee and 2 proposals were recommended for funding totaling $58,000. The following provides information on the funded proposals.

Contact: Sally Findley, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health (in Pediatrics), Mailman School of Public Health
Title of Project: Season Smart: A climate-sensitive health care management tool
Scope of Project: Much attention has been paid to the food production consequences of climate variability, namely famine associated with drought or floods.  Not much has been paid to the public health consequences of climate variability, and how public health systems need to adjust to minimize heightened risk during anomalous periods.  There are systems in place to maintain adequate food supplies in the event of production shortfalls during a rain deficit period, but comparable systems do not exist to avert heightened disease risk.  Paralleling the calendar-related approach to providing farmers advice on how and when to plant, thin, weed, and harvest, this project proposes to give community health workers a calendar to guide their advice to families about how and when to focus on prevention of infectious disease transmission.  The project team calls this approach “season smart”, because it matches the timing of critical health system inputs to the seasons of greatest risk.  The project will focus on childhood illnesses (MDG4), and will adapt the widely adopted WHO/UNICEF childhood health program, the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI).  Existing training and management tools will be organized around a monthly calendar, so that the village and clinical health care workers offer relevant health education and prevention activities in the two months preceding each of the anticipated peaks for the three major childhood illnesses with confirmed seasonality in Africa, malaria, diarrhea, and acute respiratory illnesses (including measles).  These materials will be adapted with input from the local non-governmental organizations, IMCI advisors, and, importantly, from current IMCI workers.  A pilot test will be conducted in Niono and Djoro districts, Mali.

Contact: Awash Teklehaimanot, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, and Director of the Malaria Program, The Earth Institute
Title of Project: Assessments on the impacts of dry season larval control interventions against the malaria vectors and transmission in Koraro MV and surrounding areas, Northern Ethiopia
Scope of Project: Malaria is one of the major public health problems in the village of Koraro, Ethiopia. The construction of microponds in many households in the Koraro village and surrounding areas while expected to raise the economic status of the population can increase breeding sites for the malaria vectors.  Therefore, lowering the malaria burden could result in improved economic development and serve as model for other similar areas.  The advantage of targeting the larval stage is that the mosquitoes are killed before they reach the adult stage and disperse to human habitations, and that the mosquito larvae, unlike the adults can not change their behavior to avoid control activities targeted at the larval habitat.  Extensive larval control intervention during the dry seasons in Koraro Millennium village and surrounding areas would significantly reduce or eliminate the mosquito vector population and malaria transmission. This project proposes to undertake larval control intervention in Koraro Millennium Village and surrounding areas during the dry season and to evaluate the impact of larval control interventions on mosquito population and malaria transmission in the area.