What is it about?

This document outlines a plan for a study that aims to test the use of wearable devices, like smartwatches, for health and climate change research in Burkina Faso and Kenya. These are regions where resources are limited, and the impact of climate change is expected to be significant. The study will look at whether people in these areas find the wearable devices acceptable and easy to use. It will also check if the data collected from these devices, such as heart rate, sleep duration, and physical activity, is accurate when compared to more traditional research tools. The ultimate goal is to see if these wearable devices can help researchers better understand how climate change affects people's health in these regions. For example, they might be able to link data on weather events, like heatwaves, to changes in people's heart rates or sleep patterns. This research could provide valuable insights and help inform strategies to mitigate the health impacts of climate change in low-resource settings.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

This study is a pioneering effort to understand the effects of climate change on human health in resource-limited settings, specifically in Burkina Faso and Kenya. The researchers are using wearable devices, similar to smartwatches, to collect health data from individuals. These devices can track a variety of health indicators, such as heart rate, sleep patterns, and physical activity levels. The goal is to see if there's a connection between weather exposures and changes in these health indicators. For instance, during a heatwave, do people's heart rates increase? Do they sleep less? By tracking these health indicators in real-time, the researchers hope to gain a more accurate and detailed understanding of how climate change impacts human health. This research is crucial because climate change is expected to have significant health impacts, particularly in regions with limited resources. By understanding these impacts, we can develop strategies to lessen them. This could include public health initiatives, changes in policy, or even the development of new technologies. In essence, this study is about using innovative technology to better understand and ultimately combat the health impacts of climate change in some of the world's most vulnerable regions. It's about ensuring that everyone, no matter where they live, can stay healthy in a changing climate.


This study represents a significant step forward in the field of public health, particularly in the context of climate change. It's an innovative approach that combines technology, health science, and environmental research to address a pressing global issue. The use of wearable devices for data collection is a relatively new but rapidly growing field. These devices offer the potential for real-time, continuous monitoring of health indicators, providing a wealth of data that was previously difficult to obtain, especially in resource-limited settings. The focus on Burkina Faso and Kenya is also noteworthy. These regions are often underrepresented in research, yet they are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. By focusing on these areas, the study not only contributes valuable data but also highlights the need for inclusive research that considers the global impacts of climate change. However, it's important to remember that while technology offers exciting possibilities, it's not a silver bullet. The success of this study will depend on many factors, including the accuracy of the devices, the acceptance of the technology by the local communities, and the ability to interpret and act on the data collected. In conclusion, this study is a promising example of how technology can be used to enhance our understanding of the complex relationship between climate change and human health. It underscores the importance of innovative, inclusive, and interdisciplinary research in addressing global health challenges.

Sandra Barteit
Heidelberg Institute of Global Health

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Feasibility, acceptability and validation of wearable devices for climate change and health research in the low-resource contexts of Burkina Faso and Kenya: Study protocol, PLoS ONE, September 2021, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257170.
You can read the full text:

Open access logo



The following have contributed to this page