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Health funding critical in building resilient health systems in Africa

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Health funding critical in building resilient health systems in Africa

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

AFRICAN countries have been challenged to prioritise health funding through their national budgets in order to mitigate the threats of climate change which has resulted in the emergence of many diseases.

The call to prioritise health funding at the ongoing International Conference on Public Health in Africa in Lusaka, Zambia comes at a time when the continent is reeling from climate change-induced challenges such as cyclones and earthquakes which have resulted in the spread of diseases like cholera, typhoid, and malaria, among others.

Kenyan public health expert, Desta Lakew “Our health departments in general are not highly funded. Health is the most important connecting element and yet it is usually not well funded. Therefore, increased investments have to be made so that we can withstand the effect of climate change, be it to prevent diseases like Cholera or malaria, all of that has to do with how do we strengthen our health system.”

More budgetary allocations towards health, according to Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health officials are critical.

The deputy director of Policy Planning and Health Economics in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Zimbabwe, Mr Tonderai Kadzere “Natural disasters are very unpredictable but now there are scientific methods and even trends before that are showing that you can at least predict so if you don’t consider that in your budget it means that when these things happen they will simply take the funds that you will have allocated for other programmes because the threats are coming from cyclones to covid and cholera so it is always critical to have robust health systems supported by adequate Budgets.”

The extreme weather conditions across the globe in recent months offer a terrifying glimpse of what lies ahead in a rapidly heating world.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report indicates that about 3.5 billion people – nearly half of humanity – live in areas highly vulnerable to climate change.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), heat-related deaths among those aged over 65 years have risen by 70 percent worldwide in two decades, hence calls for increased budgetary allocations towards health.