The World Health Organisation has estimated that over 50,000 deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2000 were due to climate change (World Health Report 2002). These deaths were due to diarrhoea, flood injury, malaria and malnutrition. 2 per cent. of all cases of diarrhoea and malaria and almost one fifth of cases of malnutrition during this period were attributed to climate change. In their recent report entitled “The Climate of Poverty: Facts, Fears and Hope”, Christian Aid estimated that 182 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa were at risk of dying from diseases directly attributable to climate change by the end of this century if temperatures rise by 6oC.
At Gleneagles in 2005, the UK and other G8 countries acknowledged the urgent need to increase efforts to combat climate change in their own countries and in the developing world. The Department for International Development has allocated £5 million over five years for work to improve the quality and availability of climate data in Africa and £24 million over five years to improve the capacity of African countries to adapt to climate change by building and maintaining a body of skilled African researchers.
We have funded assessments of the potential impact on health in 12 of the least developed countries’ nine of which are in Africa including Sudan, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Uganda. DFID is also the fourth largest donor to the Global Environment Facility contributing £118 million between 2003-04 and 2006-07.
DFID is also working with African countries to tackle the problem, through strengthening national health systems and providing targeted support to programmes against TB, malaria and other communicable diseases. In Kenya for example, DFID has funded the distribution of approximately six million insecticide-treated bed nets to protect against malaria. This year, DFID has also doubled its contribution to the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria to £66 million.