African govts launch initiative on tackling climate change’s health consequences


African governments, represented by their health ministers, launched a regional initiative Wednesday aimed at tackling the health effects of climate change on the continent.

The collective effort by the governments working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Amref Health Africa, the continent’s leading health development organization, seeks to harness the power of collaboration and shared experiences to enhance climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The initiative, besides fostering multisectoral cooperation, aims to amplify the voice of health and well-being in Africa during global forums on climate action and negotiations, including the Conferences of the Parties (COPs).

During the launch, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “The consequences of climate change directly impact our health and well-being, and our region is experiencing some of the most severe impacts.”

“Today’s launch of the initiative establishes a solid foundation for building resilient health systems that can continue to provide essential services while dealing with the devastating effects of floods, droughts, environmental degradation, disease outbreaks, and other climate change impacts,” she added.

The initiative was formalized during an inter-ministerial dialogue held at the 76th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The initiative comes at a critical time as climate-linked emergencies continue to rise in the African region.

Between 2001 and 2021, out of the 2,121 recorded public health events in the region, 56% were attributed to climate-related factors, according to a report released Wednesday by Amref Health Africa’s headquarters in Nairobi.

Githinji Gitahi, the CEO of Amref Health Africa, highlighted the urgency of addressing the health risks posed by climate change.

“Only a small percentage of African governments have recognized the growing danger of climate change on health, with less than 20% of countries incorporating health into their nationally determined contributions,” he said.

“Through this initiative, we aim to work closely with governments, providing them with evidence on the impact of climate change on health to inform national planning and better protect health systems against climate change threats.”

The participating health ministers expressed their unwavering commitment to collaborating with the WHO and Amref Health Africa to strengthen and accelerate progress.

The regional initiative aims to unite African countries and stakeholders to combat climate change’s health impact by building resilient systems to safeguard communities.


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