African slum & Ghetto dwellers are particularly vulnerable to the negative health effects of rapid urbanization and global climate change and the threat of common diseases in the area.
Climate change is already having an extraordinary impact on human health worldwide — affecting the spread of infectious diseases, exposing millions to air pollution and heat waves and dramatically reducing labor productivity,.
Indeed ,Conditions in crowded urban settlements in Africa make the effects of climate change worse, pushing temperatures to levels dangerous for children and the elderly in those areas
climate change will hit people living in these “slum” settlements harder because their living conditions often create a warmer “micro-climate” due to home construction materials, lack of ventilation, sparse green space, and poor access to electrical power and other services.
Urbanization in Africa is linked to poverty. Globally, nearly 1 billion people live in slums, and this number is projected to double to 2 billion in the next 30 years. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHABITAT) defines a slum as an urban area with a lack of basic services (sanitation, potable water, electricity), substandard housing, overcrowding, unhealthy and hazardous locations, insecure tenure and social exclusion. In sub-Saharan Africa, 71.8% of urban dwellers live in slums, the highest proportion in the world
,A changing climate impacts our health and wellbeing. The major public health organizations of the world have said that climate change is a critical public health problem. Climate change makes many existing diseases and conditions worse, but it may also help introduce new pests and pathogens into new regions or communities.
As the planet warms, oceans expand and the sea level rises, floods and droughts become more frequent and intense, and heat waves and hurricanes become more severe. The most vulnerable people—children, the elderly, the poor, and those with underlying health conditions—are at increased risk for health effects from climate change.Climate change also stresses our health care infrastructure and delivery systems
Further research is required to understand the impacts of climate change on the health of slum dwellers as well as to design appropriate adaptation policies. When planning public health interventions in Africa one must consider the dynamic relationship between climate change and urbanization and their impact on vulnerable urban populations
Climate change has caused severe harm to human health since the year 2000 by stoking more heat waves, the spread of some mosquito-borne diseases and under-nutrition as crops fail,
“The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible,” the report by the British medical journal ,The Lancet says, and the situation is so serious that significant gains by modern medicine and technology are being undercut.
Urban outdoor pollution in Africa is responsible for an estimated 49 000 premature deaths annually.Slums are often located near factories and busy roadways thus rendering their inhabitants vulnerable to a high burden of respiratory disease.
Exposure to elevated concentrations of ozone is associated with increased hospital admissions for pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma as well as with premature mortality.
As summer temperatures rise, the concentration of ground-level ozone is increasing in most regions of the world.
Some of the findings of the lancet countdown on health and climate change report;
1-Warming is exacerbating the spread of Dengue fever, the world’s most rapidly expanding disease. In fact, two types of mosquitoes’ ability to spread Dengue globally has increased by 9.4% and 11.1% since the 1950s.
2-An additional 125 million people around the world were exposed to heat waves each year from 2000 to 2016 (as compared with 1986-2008), and a record 175 million people were exposed to heat waves in 2015.
3-Rising temperatures have led to a 5.3% fall in labor productivity in the planet’s rural areas since 2000, with a dramatic drop of 2% from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, this effectively took more than 920,000 people out of the global workforce.
4-Global exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution has increased by 11.2% since 1990.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the least urbanized region in the world. Only 39.1% of the region’s population lives in cities.However, the region’s urban population is projected to more than double to 760 million by 2030. The rate of urbanization makes it very challenging to manage
Across Africa, 45% of the urban population lacked access to improved sanitation in 2000. in eastern Africa in 2006, open defecation was the only sanitation practice available to 33% of the population. This contributes to the contamination of water and land within cities as well as to many of the waterborne diseases prevalent in slums.
Cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming is necessary for public health, the report says. Reductions have already begun to occur across major economies, driven by the expansion of renewable energy and the phasing out of coal.
Curbing emissions could have immediate and substantial health benefits, the report says, such as cleaner air in previously polluted cities.
“Preventing illnesses and injuries is more humane, more effective and more economical than treating people once they’ve become sick