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Africa’s Climate Crisis Is a Health Crisis

Africans are facing increased but underappreciated risks to their health as a result of rising temperatures and changing climatic conditions. And since many of these new threats cannot simply be managed with "climate adaptation," policymakers must get ahead of them now.

DAKAR – The planet is losing its ability to support life as we know it, and nowhere is this clearer than in Africa – the continent that is most vulnerable to climate change despite having contributed the least to atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse-gas emissions. Beyond the increasingly frequent extreme weather, Africans are also facing increased risks to their health. As World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted just before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) last month, “The climate crisis is a health crisis. Climate change is already impacting health in many ways, through more frequent and extreme weather events [and] more disease outbreaks.”