Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has described climate change as a greatest threat to human health globally.
Chiponda made the remarks on Tuesday in Lilongwe during the official opening of a two-day regional meeting on Health and Climate Change aimed to forge a common position on climate change and health for Africa.
She said the threat and impact of climate change is more pronounced in developing countries like Malawi which are not resilient to climate shocks.
“Climate change is no longer a a distant threat. It is here with us now,” she said, adding that adverse effects of climate change are increasingly impacting the planet, affecting not only the environment, but also the health and well-being of our communities.
Chiponda further said: “It is a reality that we are seeing and feeling every day. It is no longer something that we just talk about.”
According to her, Malawi is characterized on Climate Change Index as one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change. From 1946, the nation has experienced major droughts, floods, extreme weather events including cyclones which have caused devastating health impacts.
African region is experiencing an increase in climate related health emergencies, she said.
The minister observed that climate related disasters will continue to rise rapidly if urgent adaptation and mitigation measures are not implemented.
Amref Health Africa, Chief Executive Officer, Dr Githinji Gitahi underscored the need for a paradigm shift in addressing climate justice.
“It is imperative that we fully integrate health into climate dialogue,” she said.
By doing so, Gitahi said, they can foster more comprehensive strategies that safeguard the well-being of communities while addressing the global climate crisis.
Discussing under the theme: In Pursuit of a Unified African Position on Health in Climate Negotiations, the regional meeting has brought together state and non state actors, experts, leaders in health and climate change in order to build consensus, share insights and amplify the Africa common position on health within the context of climate change with the ultimate goal of fostering sustainable and comprehensive policies that prioritize health and environment.