On 7 April 2022 we celebrate World Health Day! The theme of this year is “Our Planet, Our Health”. Emphasising the link between health and climate change.
Climate change poses an existential threat to all life on earth. The consequences thereof constitute the biggest long term public health concern we all face. In Namibia and around the world it is imperative that we see climate-conscious and sustainable development as critical to our physical health. This year we commemorate and celebrate all that has been achieved to promote public health through climate action.
Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses, Namibia’s top WHO Representative, remarks that “During the past two decades, most public health events have been climate-related, whether they were vector- or water-borne, transmitted from animals to humans, or the result of natural disasters. For example, diarrhoeal diseases are the third leading cause of disease and death in children younger than five in Africa, a significant proportion of which is preventable through safe drinking water, and adequate sanitation and hygiene”. These climate-related shocks are relevant to Namibia as well. Moses warns that “a heating world is seeing mosquitos spread diseases further and faster than ever before, with serious consequences for African countries which reported 94% of the 229 million malaria cases recorded globally in 2019”. Furthermore, increasingly common environmental shocks like droughts and famine in Namibia puts at risk 30-40% of Namibia’s population who rely on agriculture for their livelihood.
Through the WHO and its other agencies, UN Namibia is at the forefront of technical and development assistance as it relates to Namibia’s public health. The UN’s commitment to address these issues are reflected in UN Namibia’s high-level Partnership framework (UNPAF), where Health and Resilience to Climate Change are key outcomes of the strategy. In his recent remarks on climate change, UN Namibia’s Resident Coordinator Sen Pang was unequivocal about the need for strong partnerships and public participation to ensure the health of our people and the environment. “These challenges cannot be solved alone. SDG 17 calls for strong partnerships in the achievement of sustainable development…Let us provide the foundation and safeguards for the environment we want the next generation of Namibians to inherit”.
You can make a difference
We can all contribute to this vision through actions in our daily lives.
Buying local and sustainably sourced foods makes us less reliant on pollution and fuel heavy imports.
Reduce your carbon footprint by switching to renewable energy sources like solar energy, walk or carpool to work and eliminate your use of single use plastics.
Click here to read about more ways you can help improve the health of people and planet.
On this year’s World Health Day, The UN celebrates Namibia’s public health and climate heroes and urge everyone to make a concerted effort to support human and environmental health. There is no Planet B.