Ghana Meteorological Service, Ghana Ministry of Health, Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute, Uganda National Meteorological Authority, Uganda National Health Research Organization, National Center for Atmospheric Research-US
December 2017 - November 2019
health, climate change, cross-sector policy, governance, user communities, preparedness
Climate variability and extreme weather events are linked to increasing health vulnerability in sub-Saharan Africa through changes in disease patterns, increased risk of water and vector borne diseases, human displacement and migration, changes in air quality, food security and malnutrition and extreme heat. Moreover, 45% of SSA's population (675m), are in countries with the lowest adaptive capacity to changing climates, due in large part, to weak health systems. This problem is compounded by limited empirical evidence of the direct causal effects of climate change on people's health outcomes, putting undue strain on already stressed health services. The severity of these impacts depends strongly on the levels of exposure, vulnerability and adaptive capacity across national systems and policies. A largely unaddressed problem is insufficient awareness, limited technical exchange and lack of cross-sectoral information sharing. Siloed sectors (climate, health, finance, environment, disaster management, agriculture) adversely impact on government agencies to access, analyse and use different data sets to anticipate, as well as prepare for and respond to climate-related impacts. The lack of collaboration between clinicians, administrators, climate scientists, social scientists, policy makers, and civil society hinders information sharing and the development of climate-resilient health systems. Increasing multi-sectoral knowledge exchange is essential for effective management of health related impacts from climate variability and change.
This project will promote multi-sectoral knowledge exchange by establishing climate-health platforms in Ghana and Uganda as well as with regional entities. This will support the integration of climate information in the national health systems and grow evidence-based approaches to policy and practice. Research is conducted primarily at policy levels with technical research institutes, National Hydro-Meteorological Services and Health Departments, in support of effective operationalized systems (i.e. Early Warning Systems) and informed policy (i.e. Health National Action Plans). Over the two year project, 'use-cases' will provide analysis of the existing scales of integration across climate and health sectors and support the development and operationalization of related products and services. Research will (i) use targeted knowledge exchange methods and tools to increase constructive dialogue and strengthen relationships across traditionally isolated sectors; (ii) pull through relevant scientific research (hydro-met, health, livelihoods) and forecasting systems to inform policy makers; and (iii) improve understanding of climate-induced health risk for policy makers and practitioners.
East and West African health systems that are informed and integrated with climate information can trigger more timely and better targeted health interventions in response to climate-related health crises. Targeted use-cases will highlight key regional health risks and analyze the related cross-sector governance collaboration and response capabilities to inform users, practitioners and policy makers, for more resilient health systems.