Making the Case for Planetary Health in Sub-Saharan Africa

Climate change is increasing stress on water availability, affecting agriculture, livelihoods, and human health. Photo: Aurélie Marrier d'Unienville/IFRC
African ecosystems are already being affected by climate change, and future impacts are expected to be substantial. Photo: Dan Johanson/Flickr
Climate policies are highly relevant to health outcomes. For example, “low emission” transport and urban policies have both climate and health benefits. Policies promoting low carbon agriculture have both direct and indirect health benefits. Photo: Rogirol/Flickr
The Planetary Health agenda in sub-Saharan Africa responds to the climate change challenge and its effects, by taking the health of people and the natural systems on which they depend together. Photo: Freepik

This project is aimed at developing and testing policy options that have the potential to deliver generalizable and transferable lessons for improving the local environment, global environmental sustainability and population health.We will:

  1. Help fill the evidence gap around ground-truthed interactions between climate change and health in Africa;
  2. Generate a greater understanding of cross sectoral policy solutions that address the health impacts of climate change that also have climate co-benefits, capitalising on “win-win” opportunities;
  3. Build bridges between the health and climate research and policy communities in Africa around shared evidence and policy goals.

The project intends to employ the following interventions to achieve the primary outcome:1. National (Kenya) and regional policy review and analysisA detailed mapping of relevant national policies and commitments to climate change action, together with in-depth stakeholder engagement, political-economy and policy analysis to identify and define opportunities for national policy actions to protect and support public health in the face of climate change.2. Data analysis and evidence synthesisThe in-depth analysis and collation of the available in-country evidence in Kenya on the links between current and projected environmental change and health outcomes to produce high quality research briefs and other outputs to guide and support policy action.3. National and international engagement and capacity strengtheningThis will involve institutional partnership, cross-learnings, expanding the cadre of diverse stakeholders engaged in climate change and health research and policy, and broadening access to relevant information and education. A major focus of this work package will be to strengthen capacity within the two partner organisations and ensure the appropriate transfer of skills between AFIDEP and the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health (CCCPH) at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The project will build the evidence base for a Planetary Health approach to policy-making through the following outcomes:

  1. A greater understanding of the link between climate change and health at a cross-ministerial level within government  This will be achieved through stakeholder engagements and workshops with govt, local communities, private sector, NGOs, and the media to help understand complexities of policy questions and, through principles of co-design, to formulate solutions informed by scientific evidence. It will also include a formal mapping of the pathways of influence of policy actions and assembling and analyzing data to track changes relevant to policies and their impact on health and environmental outcomes at the population level.
  2. Co-development of evidence-based recommendations to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change on health This will be done through rapid evidence reviews and syntheses to develop and test decision support models. Epidemiological studies through data linkage and analysis of secondary data sets will also be done to test policy scenarios.
  3. Enhanced engagement and capacity to understand and respond to the effects of climate change and health This will be done by engaging with the public at various levels through public debates, science policy cafes, meetings with researchers and media about policy priorities informed by science, and the development of the online learning labs model to share experiences, build partnerships, and strengthen internal capacity. The capacity of journalists in evidence-informed reporting on climate change issues will be done to forge a partnership with the science journalists’ network for sustained engagement.
  1. Government of Kenya
  2. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Key Details

Dates: January 2021 to Present

Build the evidence base for policy and programmes that address the health impacts of climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Where: Kenya
Project Manager:Bernard Onyango, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator:Eliya Zulu, Ph.D