Positioning Health in Climate Change Action Plans

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress. Kenya is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change including rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns and this is having an effect on the health of its citizens. Climate change has increased global temperatures, the frequency and intensity of droughts, extreme rainfall, and severe flooding and thereby increased the risk of heat stress, modified the transmission of food-borne, waterborne and zoonotic infectious diseases, and negatively affected national food production. Failure to act on the health impacts of climate change is estimated by WHO to cost the world a total of between USD 2-4 billion/year by 2030. Hence, the need to increase knowledge and awareness of the health impacts of climate change through effective communication and translation that can action climate change agenda in Kenya. These significant effects of climate change on public health in Kenya require urgent attention to identify climate change adaptation options and must be fully integrated into Kenya’s existing health programs and policies. A greater understanding of cross-sectoral policy solutions that address the effects on health of climate change is also needed to identify potential “win-win” opportunities from rapid climate change mitigation. It is essential to bring together the climate and health communities to deliver the evidence and policy options to respond to the urgent climate crisis.