Amref Health Africa Achieves SWA Partnership Commitment through first-ever Pan-African Common Position on Climate and Health.

by Amref Health Africa

Amref Health Africa, the leading health NGO in Africa, has successfully achieved its Mutual Accountability Mechanism (MAM) commitment within the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) partnership. This accomplishment marks a significant milestone in the organization’s efforts to strengthen the narrative around health, climate, water, sanitation, and hygiene in the African context.

In 2022, Amref Health Africa made a MAM commitment to “support the African voice in the convening of the regional and global forum on WASH, health and climate change.” The organization recently reported the successful realization of this commitment.

Through collaborative efforts with various civil societies, the African Union, and governments from 35 African countries, Amref Health Africa played a pivotal role in developing the first-ever Pan-African Common Position on Climate and Health. “This groundbreaking position significantly shaped the 2023 UN Climate Conference (COP 28) declaration, focusing on climate change and health. Central to this position is the argument that access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene services is crucial for achieving One Health,” the report stated.

Dr. Martin Muchangi, Director for Population Health and Environment and SWA focal point, highlighted the challenge of unifying diverse countries’ contexts and needs across the continent under a common narrative. To address this, the strategic approach involved close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), especially the in-country technical teams, to enhance the initiative’s technical capacity. Additionally, political commitments from ministerial convenings centralised on ensuring a cohesive and effective response to Africa’s intertwined climate change and health issues.

Moving forward, the COP 28 financing commitment to climate and health will facilitate the financing of water, sanitation and hygiene and other best buy initiatives in different African countries. The next phase of Amref’s strategy will focus on enhancing technical capacity, specifically in understanding and addressing the interconnectedness of climate and health, particularly in water, sanitation, and hygiene and its role in the control of infectious diseases such as cholera and common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Muchangi explained that they aim to provide teams with a thorough understanding of these projects, including their design, implementation, and impact on health and climate, as well as guidance on accessing and securing funding.

By equipping technical teams with the necessary skills and knowledge, Amref Health Africa is paving the way for a more informed, efficient, and impactful response to the challenges posed by the intersection of climate change and health.

Furthermore, Amref has been strategically engaging with the SWA partnership since 2021 to build a strong narrative for the health, climate, water, sanitation, and hygiene nexus through expert discussions at events like Stockholm World Water Week and the virtual Health Pavilion of COP 26, advocating for a more inclusive and sustainable response to health and climate challenges in Africa.

Article first published on

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