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Climate change: 60m people to face food crisis in Africa – WHO

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As a result of the growing impacts of climate change, about 60 million people in the Horn of Africa, could be affected by imminent food insecurity, the World Health Organisation, WHO, has warned.

The Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, who gave the warning while addressing an online news conference, noted that climate crisis was a major factor determining human health outcomes.

Ghebreyesus explained that the climate crisis which prolonged drought in the greater Horn of Africa, had already caused a wave of hunger, migration and disease, leading to a major strain on health services in the region.

He said “This year, nearly 60 million people will face food insecurity across the greater Horn of Africa, which includes Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.

“Over the coming months, we expect a range of extreme weather events, including drought, flood, hurricane, and heat wave, all of which harm human health.

“El Niño, which has now been announced by the World Meteorological Organisation, together with global warming is already driving record temperatures.”

According to him, the world recorded its hottest day ever on record on June 3, 2023.

Speaking further, the WHO boss said he was pleased that, together with Gavi and UNICEF, the organisation announced the allocation of 18 million doses of the RTS, S vaccine to 12 countries in Africa.

According to Ghebreyesus, with the climate crisis changing weather patterns, mosquitoes that carry diseases are increasing in density and spreading further afield.

“Malaria remains one of Africa’s deadliest diseases, killing nearly half a million children under the age of five every year, and accounting for approximately 96 per cent of global malaria deaths in 2021.

“As the first vaccine against malaria, the RTS,S vaccine has now been delivered to more than 1.6 million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi,’’ he said.

Ghebreyesus said it has been shown to be safe and effective, resulting in substantial reduction in severe malaria and a fall in child deaths.

According to him, other positives worth noting is that at least 28 African countries have expressed interest in receiving the RTS,S vaccine.

Ghebreyesus said that a second vaccine is currently under review for pre-qualification and, if successful, it would provide additional supply in the short-term.




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