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Geography and Environmental SciencePostgraduate study

Miss Mair L.H. Thomas BA, MSc

Postgraduate Researcher

Miss Mair L.H. Thomas's photo

My passion for Geography has been longstanding and having undertaken my undergraduate and masters research at the University of Southampton, I have thrived and developed my current research interests in resource availability and its implications to global health. It is now, with the opportunities provided throughout my PhD, that I am pursuing this interest in the context of Africa, with a specific focus on drinking-water availability across the region and most notably in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana.

Needless to say, my geographical interests thrived thanks to the opportunities provided throughout my undergraduate degree. In 2017 I received my degree in Human Geography from the University of Southampton, and it was during these 3 years that I found my love for Health Geography in particular, especially in the developing world context. This intrigue was further developed through my dissertation which explored the implications of water-schemes, such as dams and irrigation schemes, on malaria eradication in Swaziland.

Having landed myself a 4 year South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) Award in 2017, I began my MSc in Social Research Methods with a focus in Human Geography. It was during this year that I undertook intensive skills based training in order to prepare myself for the impending PhD. These skills were then put into practice throughout my dissertation which focused on ‘Treatment-seeking Behaviour and Under-5 Child Mortality in Mali and Uganda’.

Currently I am continuing my academic pursuit and undertaking my PhD having begun in 2018. While my research is still heavily focused on the African context, I have moved towards investigating resource availability, in particular drinking-water. It is hoped that I while develop my project to include a health element such as drinking water availability in healthcare facilities and the subsequent effects to health of poor availability.

Research interests

Health Geography; Communicable Disease; Maternal and Child Mortality; Resource Availability; Drinking-water Access and Availability; GIS

PhD research

Monitoring access to safely managed water services: exploring spatial integration of regulatory databases with household surveys and population censuses.

Supervisors: Dr Jim Wright, Dr Amos Channon, Mr Robert Bain (UNICEF)

Funding: South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

PhD Background

Target 6.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to ‘achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all’ by 2030 (UNICEF/WHO, 2017).  Progress towards this target will be monitored by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), through Indicator 6.1.1, the ‘Proportion of population using safely managed drinking water services’.

The new SDG and its monitoring framework provides more sophisticated metrics than previously used during the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which focused on a binary ‘improved / unimproved’ water source classification. However, with these new metrics used for the SDG, which includes a ‘ladder’ of water services that classifies different types of water supply technology into various forms of improved or unimproved provision, considerable challenges are faced. In order to gain a better picture of the actualities of drinking-water access and availability across Africa, existing governmental data currently held by water regulators and national statistical agencies must be combined. My PhD seeks to address this challenge.

Ongoing research papers:

Paper 1: House-hold reported availability of drinking-water in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Planned research papers:

Paper 2: Monitoring water supply: a comparison of data sources in two case-study countries.

Paper 3: Spatial data integration of regulatory and household survey/census data.

Research group

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

Affiliate research group

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

Geography and Environmental Sciences Postgraduate Conference Committee 2019

Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences Employability Series- co-founder and developer 2019

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GEOG1004 - A Global World

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Miss Mair L.H. Thomas
Building 44 University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

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