The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti has called on all African countries to place high cognizance on the issue of Climate change , as it effects the health of the citizen.
She made disclosure on the sidelines of the Third Interministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Libreville, Gabon.
The Regional director called for strategic action plan to turn the situation around.
“From the air we breathe to the water we drink, to the places we live and work the environment is intimately linked to health. Unfortunately for millions of Africans, the environment can make them sick and even kill them. With climate change this is likely to only get worse. We must urgently turn this situation around.”
The health body noted that in the African region, 23% of deaths are linked to the environment.
“This is the highest for any region in the world on a per capita basis (deaths per 100 000). While the continent has long been plagued by problems relating to access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor infrastructure, pollution, new environmental threats have emerged, including climate change and rapid and unplanned urbanization.
Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, from the UN Environment, Africa Office, said tackling changes between environment and human health will help in achieving the Sustainable Development goals.
“It will provide a common platform and multiplier effect to sustain progress across many of the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063 in a more cost-effective and beneficial manner,”
The conference comes a decade after the historic endorsement of the Libreville Declaration by the African Ministers of Health and Environment which committed governments to take the required measures to stimulate synergies between health, environment and other relevant sectors. It also comes ahead of the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference to be held on African soil in Egypt this month and will discuss how to mainstream biodiversity into health sector, among other sectors.
The conference is jointly organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Environment, and it will focus on how to turn health and environmental policies into action.