Place women, and youth at the centre of climate change — experts

by Amref Health Africa

Global experts have called for a need to position women and youth at the centre of the fight against climate change.

The call was made during the 5th African Health Agenda International Conference, which ended in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Wednesday.

It is a biennial conference, jointly convened by Amref Health Africa, Rwanda’s health ministry, African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

This fifth edition was themed: ‘Resilient health systems for Africa; Re-envisioning the future now’.

The meeting’s participants said that the response to climate change must take into account the needs of women and youth — not just as participants in discussions, but as active designers and implementers of health and climate policies.

The experts said climate change and health challenges facing the African continent require evidence and developing compelling arguments for advocacy on behalf of vulnerable communities.

Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, the acting director of Africa CDC, said the effects of global warming and climate change are critical contributing factors to many of the health emergencies and diseases on the African continent.

“Not only can disasters such as floods, drought or other extreme weather patterns, have devastating effects on our socio-economic fabric, these disasters also result in infrastructure damage and economic losses due to business disruption and malnutrition,” said Ouma.

Dolly Ajok is the chairperson of the Uganda youth steering committee for Amref Health Africa.

She called for a need for awareness, saying that if the dominant young people are not aware of the effects of climate change, they may cause more damage to the environment.

At the same conference, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO of Amref Health Africa, said that while Africa contributes the least to emissions and global warming, it is the most vulnerable to its impacts.

Dr. Kris Murray from the MRC Unit at The Gambia London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said women and youth need to be empowered to be agents of climate change.

The article first published on

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