SOPHEA: Strengthening One and Planetary Health in Eastern Africa
The DAAD-funded project brings together international expertise to strengthen education, research and academic collaboration as well as scientific exchange on Planetary Health for Africa. The UKW together with its partners from the School of Public Health at the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS) located in Mwanza, Tanzania, and the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Eldoret, Kenya strive to explore, investigate, teach and act on the increasing climate and environmental changes and their interactions with health within the framework of Planetary Health and One Health.
The project is supported by a Scientific Advisory Board of prominent international experts in the field of Planetary Health and education. The board and its members will accompany SOPHEA throughout the project implementation process and feed their knowledge and competence into the development of essential tools and activities.
SOPHEA activities include:
Owing to the diversity of Planetary Health topics, four thematic priorities have been identified based on the research expertise of partner universities and the specific contextual needs of the EastAfrican region: nutrition, infectious diseases, cancer (as an example of non-communicable diseases), and child health, all against the background of climate and environmental factors.
The diagram serves to illustrate the interlinkage of these four thematic areas.
At the heart of the SOPHEA project stands the SOPHEA Planetary Health Education Toolbox, an open access education platform providing guidance and materials on Planetary Health Education for East Africa. The toolbox will enable partner universities, teachers and students as well as international users to integrate PH into educational programmes and curricula - initially as pilots at the partner universities in Kenya and Tanzania and in the future across the region and beyond.
Furthermore, various courses such as Summer School in Würzburg and digital short courses in East Africa are offered annually for a wide range of participants. Biannual conferences promote networking among scientists, lecturers and students and facilitate exchange on research initiatives. In addition, community-based student research projects and the Planetary Health Campus Ambassador (PHCA) programme will be supported to make knowledge available to the wider population creatively through community engagement.