Addressing the health impacts of climate change requires a comprehensive approach that includes mitigation, adaptation, and preparedness strategies. Synergising collaboration between the health sector and other sectors is essential in protecting public health in the face of climate change challenges.
In response to the climate change emergency, the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MoH) is developing a five-year strategy to guide short and long-term priorities at the intersection of climate change and health. To ensure its successful development, the MoH formed a taskforce consisting of representatives drawn from the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Departments/Divisions, MOH Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAs,) other ministries/state departments, development partners, and academia. These stakeholders provide technical and strategic support to guide the Kenyan government in addressing climate change and health issues in Kenya. In addition to encouraging climate change adaptation and mitigation, the strategy will guide research priority areas related to climate change environmental exposures and health outcomes in Kenya.
The MoH Division of Waste Management, Climate Change, Health and Pollution Control, in partnership with the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the main aim of the workshop was to review the progress on the development of the strategy and discuss how to accelerate the process in a participatory manner to ensure timely completion of the strategy. The strategy will include a roadmap to achieve Kenya’s stated commitments to the UNFCCC COP26/World Health Organization Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health.
In her opening remarks, Naomi Mutie, a senior public health officer in the Division of Waste Management, Climate Change, Health and Pollution Control stressed the need for the health sector to explore potential, known and hypothetical co-benefits for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Dr Bernard Onyango, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at AFIDEP, led discussions at the workshop by providing an overview of the strategy, its principal aim and objectives, emphasizing the need for members to have a clear understanding of the document and demonstrate ownership of the development process.
Breakout discussions within the group aligned expectations, potential obstacles and communication for effective collaboration. For such a strategy, there’s a need for clarity to map out key stakeholders and their roles, look at resources needed including the financing options, and furthermore, implement a framework for national and county governments.
Priority adaptations and mitigation actions and investment initiatives to deliver the strategy cannot be underscored. Ultimately, monitoring and evaluation, a key component plays a crucial role in the effective implementation and improvement of the Strategy. This is essential for ensuring accountability, tracking progress, promoting learning and adaptation, supporting evidence-based decision-making, mobilizing the resources given, and facilitating collaboration during and after the process.
The development of the strategy is supported by the Making a Case for Planetary Health in sub-Saharan Africa project, which is funded by the Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) The project aims to develop and test policy options that have the potential to deliver generalisable and transferable lessons for improving the local environment, global environmental sustainability and population health.
Read more about Making a Case for Planetary Health in sub-Saharan Africa project here: https://bit.ly/3wNjXiC