Climate Change and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・3 Sources

Climate change is a global issue that is mainly caused by human activities. The establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has led to the gathering of data on the issues related to climate change including the manner in which they influence human life.

Health Effects of Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Populations

Climate change and health have a closer relationship, with climate change being responsible for the deleterious health conditions that could be recorded, especially impacting infants within sub-Saharan populations. Climate change has been a leading cause of undernutrition cases that have been reported within sub-Saharan Africa, largely driven by environmental actions committed by human beings. Malaria and HIV/AIDS are the most common forms of illnesses affecting the sub-Saharan population, with climate change posing threats to their livelihoods and resilience against these challenges.

Infant Mortality and Health Risks

Infant mortality has been recording high rates in sub-Saharan Africa, often caused by poor nutrition and inadequate access to medical services, now further exacerbated by climate change. Climate change is evidenced by the increase in global temperatures, directly influencing health determinants like food production, safe drinking water, secure shelter, and clean air in sub-Saharan Africa. The high temperatures often witnessed as a result of global warming increase the quantities of pollutants in the environment, leading to a rise in respiratory diseases and infections.

Fresh Water Availability and Health Implications

Freshwater scarcity in many villages and towns within sub-Saharan African cities leads to reliance on rainfall for safe drinking water, increasing the incidence of diseases like diarrhea. Variable freshwater supplies can lead to increased incidences of floods, which contaminate clean water sources and result in water-borne diseases and create breeding grounds for disease-carrying vectors.

Health Infrastructure and Future Challenges

The health issues witnessed within the growing economies of sub-Saharan Africa are likely to rise due to poor health infrastructure and the inability to offer preventive care. First, there is a need to forge partnerships and educate communities on minimizing carbon emissions. Second, sponsoring specific research on the link between climate and health is crucial. Finally, setting up measures to address climate change in developing countries is essential.

Emerging Health Effects and Food Crisis

Scientists assert that there could be emerging health effects within the sub-Saharan region, for example, heat waves that lead to skin infection or been skin cancer. Extreme heat conditions are not suitable for the metabolic functioning of the body and could lead to the emergence of new renal conditions. The inability to move from one location to the other owing to the security of the medical conditions has adverse social, economic impacts to the communities that are affected by such conditions. The food crisis that is currently witnessed in the sub-Saharan Africa is evidence of the severity of climate change within the region. There are more than one million people presently facing starvation in the sub-Saharan area owing to the adverse climatic effects that are recorded within the area. Additionally, there has been the increased in loss of livestock and rising cost of essential foods, issues that have led to the increased malnutrition cases within the region.
In the recommendation, there is need to develop a climate adaptation management plan for the sub-Saharan program to enable the communities to establish the required levels of resilience. Food security and freshwater supervision are some of the priority areas that need to be considered in the management plan to enable them to develop the required levels of resilience (Costello, et al. 2009). Health needs to be part of the adaptation plans that are formulated by the government agencies. Integrating climate change in the educational curricular is necessary for ensuring that the communities have the required knowledge on how they could prevent and even adapt to the climate change effects.

In Conclusion

Climate change is caused by human beings and can be managed through proper sensitization of the public. Climate change leads to the rise in the average global temperature leading to heat waves, melting of glaciers, loss of vegetation, water stress and increased pollen within the environment and air. The reduction in the air quality is evidence of the increased respiratory illnesses that are recorded within the region. Additionally, the water stress leads to an outbreak of diseases such as cholera which also lead to the massive death. The most vulnerable population within the region are the children, elderly and women (Costello, et al. 2009). Children bear the brunt owing to the inadequate water within the region. Scarce water leads to dehydration, and the poor quality water leads to diarrhea that has been responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of children annually. Therefore, adequate sensitization and environmental conservation measures need to scale up with the region to minimize the negative impacts that could be realized from climate change and the greenhouse effect.


Costello, A., Abbas, M., Allen, A., Ball, S., Bell, S., Bellamy, R., ... & Lee, M. (2009). Managing the health effects of climate change. The Lancet, 373(9676), 1693-1733.
Patz, J. A., Campbell-Lendrum, D., Holloway, T., & Foley, J. A. (2005). Impact of regional climate change on human health. Nature, 438(7066), 310-317.
Schmidhuber, J., & Tubiello, F. N. (2007). Global food security under climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(50), 19703-19708.

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