Abstract

Introduction: Globally, recognition is growing of the harmful impacts of high ambient temperatures (heat) on health in pregnant women and children. There remain, however, major evidence gaps on the extent to which heat increases the risks for adverse health outcomes, and how this varies between settings. Evidence gaps are especially large in Africa. We will conduct an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis to quantify the impacts of heat on maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa. A detailed understanding and quantification of linkages between heat, and maternal and child health is essential for developing solutions to this critical research and policy area. Methods and analysis: We will use IPD from existing, large, longitudinal trial and cohort studies, on pregnant women and children from sub-Saharan Africa. We will systematically identify eligible studies through a mapping review, searching data repositories, and suggestions from experts. IPD will be acquired from data repositories, or through collaboration with data providers. Existing satellite imagery, climate reanalysis data, and station-based weather observations will be used to quantify weather and environmental exposures. IPD will be recoded and harmonised before being linked with climate, environmental, and socioeconomic data by location and time. Adopting a one-stage and two-stage meta-analysis method, analytical models such as time-to-event analysis, generalised additive models, and machine learning approaches will be employed to quantify associations between exposure to heat and adverse maternal and child health outcomes. Ethics and dissemination: The study has been approved by ethics committees. There is minimal risk to study participants. Participant privacy is protected through the anonymisation of data for analysis, secure data transfer and restricted access. Findings will be disseminated through conferences, journal publications, related policy and research fora, and data may be shared in accordance with data sharing policies of the National Institutes of Health. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42022346068

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