By Natalie Duke
It is important that climate change take center stage in international health discussions. In East Africa, the results of climate change are already being noticed. These results include the increased prevalence of mosquito – borne and water-borne disease. These diseases include arbovirus infections, cholera, malaria, meningitis, and diarrhea (1).
This situation is dangerous because as certain arid mountainous areas of East Africa experience increased temperature averages, these areas are more likely to experience increased rates of mosquito borne illnesses. A prominent example of increased temperatures affecting disease is the malaria outbreak of 1997-1998 in Kenya (1). This situation is very dire due to the increased strain that it will have on community relationships and local health care systems.
Climate change is capable of directly influencing factors that contribute to cholera outbreaks. One of the most prominent factors in the development of cholera outbreaks is the ability of a location to flood. Increased averages in temperatures have important implications in the development of floods due to temperature’s influence in the seasonality of rain.
In order to systematically address the effects of climate change, it is important for countries to maintain their promises after becoming signatories to the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations. Additionally, public and national health institutions within East Africa must be bolstered to deal with the underlying threat of climate change driven outbreaks. An important part of bolstering the national institutions is encouraging the build up of research infrastructure to allow scientists and physicians within these countries to have more support when developing interventions for climate change driven disease (1).
These goals cannot be accomplished without the proper financial capital. Funding methods that have been explored include the development of more collaborative projects between NGOs. Additionally, it is important that funding agencies continue to support causes in East Africa and for corporations to continue investment into the region.
Githeko, Andrew. (2017). Response to climate change is critical as risk of disease outbreaks grows. The Conversation
Codeço, C. T. (2001). Endemic and epidemic dynamics of cholera: the role of the aquatic reservoir. BMC Infectious diseases, 1(1), 1.