Climate change is happening now in Africa! This is substantiated by the occurrence of prolonged severe droughts and desertification, periodic flash or perennial devastating floods, melting of ice caps, sea-level rise and pest invasion as illustrated in Plate 1. In addition to these climatic hazards, the vulnerability of the African population to climate change is further aggravated by the presence of multiple debilitating factors including, topographic heterogeneity, prevalence of pre-existing climate-sensitive diseases and the low adaptative capacity of the vulnerable groups who lack reliable economic resource base. Further temperature rise is projected in the African continent as well as more frequent cyclones in Eastern and Southern Africa. These events will lead to water crisis and desertification affecting food security and cascading into multiple interrelated adverse health and other impacts.
Climate change is approaching a disastrous tipping point in Africa. It is adversely affecting socio-economic development and is threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of Africans by directly and indirectly causing many adverse health impacts including respiratory and heat-related illnesses, increased prevalence of infectious diseases and vector-borne diseases, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)-associated with food insecurity and malnutrition, as well as behavioral health problems. Climate change is driven by collective anthropogenic activities producing Green House Gases (GHGs).