Nigeria Pushing For Climate Resilient, Healthier Future
By Faridat Salifu
Nigeria is taking proactive steps to adapt its health system to the challenges posed by climate change, with a focus on building resilience for the future.
The initiative aims to ensure that the health system can withstand shocks, effectively provide uninterrupted healthcare, and efficiently manage crises by minimizing losses and distributing resources effectively.
One of the key elements of this ongoing plan is to understand and address the diverse needs of stakeholders at all levels of healthcare, from primary to tertiary care.
By identifying and plugging loopholes in real-time and reinforcing existing systems, Nigeria aims to prevent future system collapses and strengthen its overall healthcare infrastructure.
The impact of climate change on health is a global threat of the century, with issues such as air and water pollution, extreme weather events, and energy shortages posing severe challenges.
Nigeria, in particular, grapples with air pollution in the Niger Delta, exceeding WHO air quality standards due to petroleum-related activities.
This has led to significant strains on the environment, economy, and public health in the region, contributing to a range of health issues such as respiratory illnesses and developmental abnormalities.
Waterborne diseases, vector-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria, and other health challenges are intensifying due to climate change’s impact on clean water access and increased transmission rates.
The current state of Nigeria’s health system is also facing challenges – a low budgetary allocation to health, foreign medical tourism, lack of trust, infrastructural inadequacy, and the exit of qualified professionals from the country.
In addition, environmental decay and its repercussions on health have been compounded by improper waste disposal and other factors.
To address these issues, Nigeria is mobilizing concerted efforts through multisectoral intervention, policies, and actions to establish a climate-resilient health system.
The Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health, initiated by the World Health Organization, is leading the charge to coordinate efforts to address climate threats and establish resilient health systems.
With a focus on tackling supply chains, nutritional needs, developing low-carbon, climate-resilient health systems, and financing, Nigeria is committed to ensuring a safer and healthier future for its citizens.
The plan also includes a focus on replacing fossil fuels with energy-efficient sources, investment in waste reduction and recycling, and enforcing proper disposal regulations, contributing to a cleaner environment and longer, healthier lives for all.
This transformative initiative signals a new chapter in Nigeria.