Health Minister, Sylvia Masebo, has said that climate change threatens to cause setbacks in the health sector through rising cases of various diseases in the country.
Masebo identified the diseases as malaria, diarrheal, respiratory and undernutrition among the most vulnerable populations.
Addressing the Conference of All Parties (COP 28) in Dubai, United Arabs Emirates on Monday, the Minister noted that this highlighted the urgent need to address climate and health crises.
She emphasized that addressing the effects of climate change on health required leadership and a strategic multi-sectoral approach.
“Zambia proudly supports the declaration on Climate and Health at COP28. We recognize that the climate crisis is a health crisis and its impacts are unjustly placed on countries like ours,” Masebo said.
She noted that Zambia was affected through droughts, floods, increasing temperatures and storms.
Masebo said the country had, however, made tremendous progress over the last several years, among many key health indicators.
“This includes a substantial increase in health system financing from about 8 percent to 11 percent just in two years since this UPND led administration took office,” Masebo stated.
She observed that despite this, Zambia’s health system continued to face significant challenges.
Masebo told delegates at the conference that Zambia had taken bold steps toward creating plans relating to climate mitigation and adaptation.
“Both the Zambia National Adaptation Plan and Nation Health Adaptation Plan outline steps Zambia must take and are fully aligned with the COP28 declaration,” she said.
Masebo noted that the toll of climate change on human health was readily apparent, adding that heavy rains were leading to rising cases of malaria and increases in diarrheal disease and that droughts across the lands were leading to malnutrition and stunting.
She said that Zambia, through her Ministry, was fully committed to implementing the policies and plans for addressing climate change.
“This includes building a resilient health infrastructure, promoting renewable energy in health facilities, strengthening disease surveillance systems and adaptive measures relating to climate sensitive diseases,” Masebo said.
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