Over the past decades climate change and its impact on health have become increasingly understood and recent evidence suggests that the associated changes in temperature and precipitation are already adversely affecting population health. The future burden of disease attributable to climate change will depend in part on the timeliness and effectiveness of the interventions implemented.
The Ethiopian government made a commitment to implement Health National Adaptation Plans (H-NAPs) to mitigate the risks of climate change to the country.
Based on strategic objectives, the following key activities were performed in Ethiopia:
- Enhancement of the early warning and surveillance system in the context of health emergency risk management in pilot sites. Eleven sentinel sites have been established in the country for climate sensitive disease surveillance. Meteorological information and disease surveillance data from these sites were integrated, focusing on five selected climate sensitive diseases (cholera, malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and meningitis). More than 5 million people in the catchment areas benefited from this service through enhancing appropriate risk communication and emergency preparedness.
- Capacity of the eleven climate sensitive diseases surveillance sentinel sites for disease detection, early warning, preparedness, and responses has been enhanced through providing trainings on data management, follow up and joint supportive supervision.
- An advocacy workshop was conducted on climate change and health to enhance the awareness of health workforce on climate change and health.
- WHO in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health has led in developing national climate resilient health care facilities and a health system guiding toolkit in subsequent consultation and review sessions. The final draft guiding toolkit was developed from 23-28 March 2020 involving technical experts from the Hygiene and Environmental Health Directorate in the Ministry of Health and different pertinent government sectors (Regional Health Bureaus; Ethiopian Public Health Institute; Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy; Disaster Risk Management Commission; and Environment, Forestry and Climate Change Commission), universities and UN agencies (World Health Organization and United Nations Children Fund).
Based on the vulnerability and adaptation assessment findings the following key response activities were performed:
- Five climate sensitive diseases (cholera, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and meningococcal meningitis) were prioritized for climate sensitive disease surveillance in 11 sentinel sites;
- National training manual on climates sensitive disease surveillance and early warning system was developed and training was provided on data management and modelling to front line officers in the WASH, surveillance and meteorology sectors.
- WASH and meteorological information were considered in risk mapping and emergency preparedness plan development;
- Task forces for climate change and health monitored perceived health risks and shared information for early warning and preparedness.