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Climate Change At The Center Of Africa Health Conference Kigali

by Daniel Sabiiti
1:52 am

 African leaders, health, and climate experts will next month convene in Kigali, Rwanda for the fifth edition of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) which will discuss health and climate change as correlated issues to address in this century.

The conference to be held from 5-8 March 2023 under the theme: “Resilient Health Systems for Africa: Re-envisioning the Future Now” will discuss health policies for Africa against the backdrop of global challenges, including climate change, food insecurity, conflict and economic recession.

The biennial global health conference in Africa, organized by Amref Health Africa, Ministry of Health Rwanda, African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), will for the first time  focuse on climate change as a key determinant of health- a subject matter that remains an area of debate globally.

Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa said that climate change and health are intrinsically intertwined, yet they have for decades now been treated as two separate issues and areas of concern to address equally and simultaneously.

“At AHAIC 2023, we will be exploring themes at the nexus of climate change and health including a rapidly warming planet, pandemic preparedness, food security and nutrition, innovation, research and development, gender, and conflict,” Gitahi said.

The conference will bring together the continent’s top political figures, innovators, researchers, policy makers and civil society for dialogue and action aimed at mainstreaming climate discourse into health policy conversations.

AHAIC 2023 comes at the backdrop of renewed calls by African leaders for more urgent action against climate change as its impacts continue to be acutely felt on the continent. At the heart of the conference will be sessions curated to find sustainable and inclusive solutions to Africa’s most pressing climate change and health challenges.

Though Africa emits only 4% of global greenhouse emissions, African nations remain particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and the pinch is already being felt with effects of deteriorating global health through extreme weather events and food insecurity, limited access to clean water, and frequent epidemics.

Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Minister of Health Rwanda said that these issues remain on the periphery of climate conversations despite the existence of scientific evidence that climate change threatens our well-being and the conference will try to find possible African home grown solutions and sharing best practices.

As the world inches closer to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals deadline, African leaders at the conference will urge the global community to renew its commitments to end poverty and improve health and well-being while protecting the planet.

With a youthful population of 1.2 billion people likely to bear the brunt of climate change, participants at the conference will also be advocating for more resources to be allocated to resolving the global health and climate crises as the world slowly emerges from the three-year grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AHAIC 2023 aims to shape a joint African position on climate and health ahead of critical conversations that will take place at the World Health Assembly, the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78), and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) later in the year.

The conference will kick off with the AHAIC 2023 jogging Marathon on 5th March to coincide with the Kigali Car Free Day, which takes place twice a month in Kigali as part of efforts to make Kigali a green city and to fight non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

This will be followed by three days of plenary sessions, high-level meetings, workshops and networking sessions that will take place from 6th to 8th March .

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