Nairobi: Climate change poses many threats to the health and well-being of populations worldwide. This ranges from increasing the risk of extreme heat events and heavy storms, to increased risk of asthma attacks and changing the spread of vector-borne diseases. Some of these health impacts are already being experienced in Africa.
The Making a Case for Planetary Health in sub-Saharan Africa Project (Planetary Health) implemented by the African Institute for Development Policy in partnership with the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine seeks to build the evidence base for policy packages that address the health impacts of climate change in Kenya.
The implementation of appropriate measures for surveillance and monitoring of climate change-related diseases to enhance health early warning systems require public awareness of health impacts of climate change. There are abundant gaps in awareness and understanding of the linkages between climate change and health that may slow down mitigation and adaptation activities in the health sector.
Cognisant of the need to enhance public understanding of the linkage between health and climate change, the Planetary Health project will engage the media to share knowledge and experiences as well as bridge the gap between science and society. The media is expected to facilitate critical public engagement in alternative discourse concerning climate change controversies and raise the awareness of the health impacts associated with it.
As a start to a mutual relationship with the media in Kenya, AFIDEP and the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association (KENJSA) on 30 November 2021, partnered to dialogue on the impact of climate change on health, at a breakfast meeting in Nairobi.
The media event focused on positioning health in climate change management strategies with a discussion on four key components: governance policy and engagement for health protection from climate change; climate resilient health systems such as robust surveillance, early warning and response for climate-sensitive health impacts;
The event made recommendations on how the media can support the positioning of health to address resilience, adaptation and mitigation issues in the context of the National Climate Change Action Plan.
AFIDEP aspires for an Africa where evidence transforms lives. AFIDEP works towards systemic actions that drive a cultural shift from low or sporadic evidence use to a setting where evidence is actively sought and used routinely in public policy decision-making so that the right investments are made towards the transformation of people’s lives for the better.