ReNEW aims to develop real-time community-wide diagnostics and a tuneable multi-hazard public health early warning system (EWS) with the ultimate goal of strengthening community resilience. This will be done through a focus on water from urban dwellings, which reflects the health status of a population and surrounding environment as it pools the endo- & exogenous products of that population. Real-time measurement of these specific hazard biomarkers in urban water from different communities allows for rapid evaluation of public health status, prediction of future crises, and thus enables mitigation strategies to be developed for either rapid or slow onset hazards, even before they manifest themselves with characteristic endpoints (e.g. mortality in the event of pandemics). Thus morbidity and mortality can be reduced and resilience and sustainability within the surveyed urban system significantly increased. In this cutting-edge project we will develop innovative tools for public health diagnostics and undertake a scoping study in the city of Stellenbosch to understand the requirements for the development and implementation of a multi-hazard EWS in South Africa and beyond.
This £1.35M project is funded by the EPSRC Global Challenges Challenge Fund and will run for 3 years from May 2017. The project is led by Prof Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern (Chemistry) and involves Prof Chris Frost (Chemistry), Dr Pedro Estrela (Electronic & Electrical Engineering), Dr Thomas Kjeldsen (Architecture & Civil Engineering), Prof Ed Feil (Biology & Biochemistry), Prof Julie Barnett (Psychology), Prof Danae Stanton Fraser (Psychology), as well as researchers from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.