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Climate-related health emergencies on the rise in Africa, WHO

 Climate-related health emergencies on the rise in Africa, WHO
South Sudanese refugees try to repair their hut in flooded water after heavy rains near al-Qanaa, South Sudan, September 14, 2021   -  
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ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP or licensors


On World Health Day, the World Health Organisation called on "governments to prioritise human well-being in all key decisions" as the body cited rising "climate-related health emergencies".

World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa said Thursday, a study "found that of the more than 2000 public health events recorded in the African Region in the decade up to 2021, more than half were climate-related." Between 2011 and 2021, the continent experienced "25% more climate-related events compared to the previous decade."

Water-borne diseases, mainly due to cholera outbreaks, "accounted for 40% of climate-related health emergencies in the past 20 years", WHO Regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said.  Diarrhoeal diseases are the third leading cause of disease and death in under 5 children. A significant proportion of these deaths is preventable through safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene.

Fearing the "foundation of good health [to be] in jeopardy" because of increasingly severe climatic events, she urged governments to "prioritise human well-being in all key decisions".