KENYA – Group Chief Executive Officer for Amref Health Africa Dr. Githinji Gitahi has met and had talks with world’s public health leaders on how local solutions can tackle climate change-related impacts head-on at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

He said that African leaders need to participate in all high-level discussions, adding that African governments need to participate and include Ministries of Health in their delegations as the issues of health and climate are closely interconnected.

Healthy communities are critical to any lasting climate solution. When individuals live better lives, they are better able to participate as full members of their communities including participating in the process of mitigating and adapting to climate change,” Dr. Githinji stated.

He observed that big challenges require innovative solutions, noting that a challenge as complex as the climate crisis requires equally diverse and interconnected solutions to build a more climate-resilient future.

We call on individuals to keep showing up and advocating for the healthy future every one of us needs. Our climate future must be one where the health and wellbeing of all is ensured,” he maintained.

During the ongoing COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, the Amref boss cautioned that climate change threatens the foundations of individual wellbeing and could negate decades of progress in global health.

At COP27, we call on leaders in the global health space to engage and make the imminent connections between climate change, health, and growing inequalities,” he said.

Dr. Githinji observed that the impacts of climate change are felt most direly in the places that have contributed the least emissions.

For many years, addressing climate change has largely hinged on macro-level government policies and market-driven approaches to halt emissions,” he stated.

While societal and economic shifts remain critical, the Amref CEO emphasized that governments across Africa are increasingly recognizing the present, life-altering impacts of climate change on every aspect of life from food security and water access to health risks and economic challenges.

These impacts aren’t felt equally. Climate change makes existing power structures more inequitable, especially among women, girls, ethnic minorities, and those in low- and middle-income countries, keeping these groups from having a seat at the table to advocate for change,” Dr. Githinji said.

He further stressed that it’s critical to ensure that health services remain accessible, especially as communities experience the effects of climate change like more local conflicts, weather disasters, and water and food scarcity.

At COP27, we call on leaders in the global health space, health ministers, and all individuals represented to listen to local communities most affected by climate change and to design and invest in solutions based on their needs, perspectives, and desires,” the Global CEO Amref Health Africa added.

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