Africa Unites on Inclusion of Health on Climate Change Debate
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has warned that if not checked, climate change may undermine all progress that has been made in global health.
Chiponda has said, for this reason, African countries need to unite and work together towards addressing climate change and health challenges as most of them are recurrently facing climate change effects from time to time.
She was speaking during a three-day regional workshop on health and climate change in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Wednesday where she said climate change is affecting people’s health, clean air, safe drinking water and nutritious food supply.
“Climate change has the potential to overturn decades-long progress in global health as it has caused serious devastation to human life and infrastructural development,” she said.
She added that climate change is a reality being faced every day, and that it is something that should now be regarded as the greatest threat to human health, and therefore a need for proper investment in fighting this arises.
Pan-African Climate Change Justice Alliance Dr. Mithika Mwenda hailed stakeholders and partners for assembling to discuss that climate change and health be recognized.
Dr. Mithika said, “This is certainly the beginning of a journey together to map a major campaign to bring health as a sector in international climate change negotiations and interventions.”
In his remarks, African Institute for Development Policy (Afidep) Executive Director Eliya Zulu said that despite that discussions on the issue happen at different levels, many countries remain frustrated with little progress made and change, having continued experiencing various catastrophes.
“Health should be put at the center of climate change discussions, but this can be possible if negotiators at the global stage understand and put across evidence of effects and how people’s health is being affected, and that it is a human right and climate injustice,” said Zulu.
Similarly, Amref Health Africa Global Chief Executive Officer Dr. Gitinji Gitahi says human health is being altered as a result of climate change and global warming.
He added, “Across the continent, there are significant pre-mature and maternal deaths in 35 countries the organization works in. We have seen that the landscape is changing on maternal, child mortality, infectious diseases and everyone is convinced that this is a result of global warming.”
Key stakeholders at the event are aiming to contribute to raising the health profile, to promote inclusion of health content into negotiations on the world stage, so African countries can join hands and go with one voice to the African Climate Week in Kenya and Climate Change Conference in Dubai later this year.