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Climate change and health in Mozambique

Mozambique is exposed to a number of climate hazards – including droughts, floods and cyclones, as well as incremental climate change, including temperature increases and changes in rainfall, and the impacts of sea level rise.  Mozambique is a Least Developed Country, and is ranked 184th on the worldwide scale of development, the United Nations Human Development Index.  Climate hazards add additional stress to the development context in and threaten to undermine achievements made to date.

Since climate hazards often give rise to disasters, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) has begun a process of assessing how climate change will influence disaster risk.  Its first phase of research assessed the likely impacts of climate change, and its recently-finished second phase has built on this by developing and assessing the appropriateness of solutions.  To date, analysis of the climate change impacts on health, however, has not elaborated the nature and distribution of these impacts, prompting the government of Mozambique to approach CDKN to undertake an empirical analysis of the linkages between climate change and health.  The evidence base created by this study will inform the implementation of the soon-to-be-released National Climate Change Strategy, and the next Health Sector Strategic Strategy, due to commence in 2013.

The study began in June 2012, and is being undertaken by a team from Kulima Integrated Development Solutions, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane.  Initial stakeholder and project mapping has taken place, charting relevant actors and initiatives in the climate change and health fields.  Research has been undertaken to assess the current spatial distribution and prevalence of major illnesses, such as malaria, cholera/diarrhoeal disease, tuberculosis, oncocerciasis (river blindness), and HIV/AIDS, as well as nutrition and food security (which is closely related to vulnerability to ill health).  Downscaled projections for future climate have also been made available from the latest CSIR and Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) research, as outlined in a handbook on Climate Risk and Vulnerability in the SADC region.

In order to determine how future climate change may influence the disease burden, a qualitative methodology based on expert judgement was recently undertaken in Maputo.  In addition to members of the project team, the meeting was attended by experts from the steering committee ministries (Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Health, and the National Disaster Management Institute), the Food and Nutrition Security Secretariat and the World Bank.

The results of the expert judgement will inform high resolution case studies, which are due to take place within the next month in two districts in Nampula province (Nampula City and Memba), and two districts in Manica province (Machaze and Macossa) – chosen for their different risk profiles and the fact that they have been overlooked for previous studies and interventions.

The final report of the project, containing results of the expert judgement analysis and high resolution case studies and recommendations, will be available by January 2013.

Image courtesy of IRD Voices


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