The African disease chief says climate change is the biggest threat to human health.


The most significant peril to human health in Africa and globally is climate change, according to the country’s chief of the public health agency. The African disease chief says climate change is the biggest threat to human health.

The director general of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Jean Kaseya, told Reuters that mitigating that risk was his top priority as he prepared to depart for the COP28 climate summit in Dubai on Thursday. Kaseya stated that the necessary measures would include financing to assist African nations in their efforts to contain disease outbreaks.

He stated in an online interview that what kept him conscious at night was the possibility of “a climate change-related disease escalating into a pandemic and originating from Africa.”

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According to Kaseya, Africa has addressed 158 disease outbreaks since the beginning of this year. “Each outbreak, if poorly managed, can become a pandemic,” he commented.

On December 3, this year’s climate negotiations will feature a health day for the first time. Kaseya and other global health figures are anticipated to utilize this day to bring attention to the connection between climate change and health.

Scientists have established a correlation between the unprecedented temperature increase this year and a surge in diseases such as dengue and cholera.

Floods and other extreme weather phenomena can facilitate the spread of disease and complicate response efforts. In addition to exacerbating climate change, deforestation increases human proximity to disease-carrying fauna, such as bats.

Kaseya stated, on the margins of the international conference on public health in Africa, which is ongoing until Thursday in Lusaka, Zambia, that equal access to vaccines and treatments must be ensured so that the errors of COVID-19 are not repeated.

“No one will be safe if all of us are not safe,” he continued.

Consequently, he stated that the CDC supported regional vaccine manufacturing initiatives and a collective procurement mechanism to reduce costs for African nations.

Additionally, he stated that he anticipates the African Medicines Agency, the first regulatory authority to span the entire continent, to be operational by 2024.

The CDC is formulating protocols to designate “public health emergencies of continental concern” for outbreaks that extend across regions, mirroring the terminology employed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify the most critical health risks on a global scale.

Prominent African scientists and public health experts criticized the World Health Organization’s decision to apply its highest level of alert to mpox only after the disease had spread beyond Africa, where it had been a concern for years, last year.