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Belmont Forum Collaborative Research: the AWARD-APR Project

The call was announced by Belmont Forum: Collaborative Research Action Climate, Environment and Health 2019

A multinational consortium created to perform comparative analyses of diarrheal disease risk associated with extreme weather events in order to develop a transferable solution — seasonal to sub-seasonal (S2S) early warnings for diarrheal disease — to reduce extreme weather-related diarrheal disease burdens and improve community resilience to climate change.

AWARD-APR project in short

Project title: 
Addressing Extreme Weather Related Diarrheal Disease Risks in the Asia-Pacific Region


Lead PI: 
Amir Sapkota, Professor, University of Maryland, USA

Partner PIs:

  • Yu-Chun Wang, Professor, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan
  • Chuansi Gao, Associate professor, Lund University, Sweden

Countries and regions involved:

  • Project Principal Investigetors (PIs): USA, Sweden, Taiwan
  • Project Partners: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Vietnam

Duration: 36 months (September 2020 - August 2023)

Funding agencies:

Project on the Belmont Forum homepage 

AWARD-APR Project's homepage


The overall burden of diarrheal diseases has been declining, in large part due to oral rehydration therapy (ORT). However, countries in the Asia-Pacific Region still experience disproportionately high rates of morbidity and mortality associated with diarrheal diseases, with more than 873,000 deaths/year in South Asia alone. This fact highlights the urgent need for an early warning system for diarrheal disease in the region to prevent disease outbreaks in communities impacted by extreme weather events that are increasing in frequency, duration, and intensity.

Despite considerable interest, success in implementing an early warning system has been limited primarily because of the shortcomings of weather-based and climate projection-based warning systems. Weather-based warnings (7 to 10-day lead time) do not provide enough time for public health interventions to be mobilizes, while climate projection-based warnings (50 to 100-year time horizon) are too distant in the future to guide meaningful preparedness discussions at present. 


The objectives of the project are to develop early warning systems with seasonal to sub-seasonal (S2S) lead times, as this range provides adequate time to prepare and respond to projected climate change-related threats. These overall objectives will be achieved by completing various milestones, referred to as Work Packages (WPs). Our interdisciplinary team, led by scientists in the US, Sweden, and Taiwan, will partner with researchers, NGOs, governmental, and community organizations from throughout the Asia-Pacific Region to establish a multinational consortium that will analyze diarrheal disease risk associated with extreme weather events. This focus area was chosen because the Asia-Pacific Region experiences the highest burden of diarrheal disease morbidity globally and includes countries that are considered the most vulnerable to climate change. The S2S early warning system for diarrheal disease will be implemented across the region to reduce extreme weather-related diarrheal disease burdens and improve community resilience to climate change.

Page Manager:

Work Packages (WPs)

  • WP Numner 1: Exposure metrics
    Leader: Amir Sapkota,
    University of Maryland
  • WP Number 2: Understanding ENSO
    Leader: Chuansi Gao Lund University
  • WP Numner 3: Diarrheal disease database
    Leader: Yu-Chun Wang,
    Chung Yuan Christian University
  • WP Number 4: Exposure-response function
    Leader: Amir Sapkota,
    University of Maryland
  • WP Number 5: Early warning system
    Leader: Amir Sapkota, Chuansi Gao
    University of Maryland, Lund University


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