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New Pathfinder Partnership Advances Climate Forecasting about the Threat of Extreme Heat on Health

Contact: Barbara Merz,

Washington, D.C., May 28, 2021— Pathfinder International and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) are partnering to improve data forecasting on how climate change-driven temperature increases affect the health and well-being of communities around the world.

The research findings, which will be described in a white paper, are intended to:

  • Raise awareness about the ramifications of climate change-induced warming on health, applying a gender lens to the analysis.
  • Map climate temperature data to health outcomes globally.
  • Identify the major causes of death in extreme heat.
  • Strengthen the application of research to on-the-ground interventions that anticipate, prevent, and mitigate the worst health outcomes for low-resource communities.

“Climate change has significant impacts on all of the communities where work in Africa and South Asia,” said Lois Quam, President and CEO of Pathfinder International. “We work through our local partners to unlock women’s agency as a vital source of resilience in the face of climate shocks.”

“We map climate forecasts of high temperatures and their impacts on specific causes of death from now through 2100 to identify the specific populations which would benefit most from interventions,” adds Dr. Michael Brauer from IHME, which is leading the climate-forecasting work.

As global temperatures continue to rise, the number of people exposed to extreme heat is drastically increasing. According to the World Health Organization, between 2000-2016, nearly 125 million people experienced extreme heat. IHME estimated more than 300,000 deaths due to high temperatures in 2019.

Extreme heat is sometimes called a “silent killer,” because of its unknown, and often unseen, impacts on human health and well-being. Current evidence shows us that the impact of extreme heat is profoundly unequal. Certain youth populations and the elderly are at particular risk, as well as those with preexisting conditions or disabilities. Existing racial and socioeconomic disparities affect individuals’ access to resources and protection, putting them at greater risk of suffering from heat-related challenges.

Pathfinder works in many communities vulnerable to extreme temperatures. It is essential that we learn more about the impact of heat to develop programs that improve community health and well-being.

“Pathfinder will use the evidence generated through this partnership to support the design of interventions with local leaders. These interventions will support communities to address the impacts of extreme heat and create more proactive programming,” notes Barbara Merz, Managing Director of Pathfinder’s climate resilience work.

Learn more about Pathfinder’s cutting-edge work on Climate Resilience.
Discover more about the health and climate forecasting research at @IHME_UW.
Join us in raising awareness about solutions to extreme heat this #HeatSeason.


Pathfinder International advances sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world. We reach the most vulnerable populations, including those who have been displaced due to climate change, conflict, and natural disaster. Taken together, our programs empower millions of women, men, and young people to choose their own paths forward.

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