Health Journals Call for Climate Justice for Africa as COP27 Nears

As the world prepares in harmony to combat the climate crisis faced globally, over 250 health journals have come out urging the world to deliver climate justice for Africa ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) taking place in Cairo, Egypt in November.

The call is fixed on the fact that Africa has severely suffered from the effects of climate change in a dire way despite the little done within to cause the crisis. Hence a call to wealthier countries to step up support for Africa and vulnerable countries in addressing past, present and future impacts of climate change.

“The climate crisis is a product of global inaction, and comes at great cost not only to disproportionately impacted African countries, but to the whole world,” they write.

The editorial, which is authored by 16 editors of leading biomedical journals across Africa, including African Health Sciences, the African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, and the East African Medical Journal, is simultaneously being published in 50 African journals and other leading international medical journals such as the BMJ, The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, the National Medical Journal of India, and the Medical Journal of Australia.

“Africa is united with other frontline regions in urging wealthy nations to finally step up, if for no other reason than that the crises in Africa will sooner rather than later spread and engulf all corners of the globe, by which time it may be too late to effectively respond. If so, far they have failed to be persuaded by moral arguments, then hopefully their self-interest will now prevail,” the health journals accentuated.

Well, the health journals emphasize the need to assist Africa since the climate crisis has had an impact on the environmental and social determinants of health across Africa, leading to devastating health effects, explained the authors.

Citing changes in vector ecology brought about by floods and damage to environmental hygiene that has also led to an increase in malaria, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and other infectious diseases across sub-Saharan Africa.

The health journals reveal that climate crisis has damaged up to a fifth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the countries’ most vulnerable to climate shocks which makes Africa one of the supreme concerns to all nations.

Severe conditions of the climate crisis. Source: Courtesy

Stressing that in an interconnected world, leaving countries to the mercy of environmental shocks creates instability that has severe consequences for all nations. Thereby calling for the urgency of achieving the $100bn a year climate finance target sooner than now “globally critical if we are to forestall the systemic risks of leaving societies in crisis.”

“In Africa we are already seeing the devastating effects of climate change on people’s health and the need to strengthen community-oriented primary health care is now more than ever,” said Bob Mash, Editor of the African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine and President of the South African Academy of Family Physicians.

According to Lukoye Atwoli, Professor and Dean of Medical College East Africa and Associate Director of Brain and Mind Institute, this is a time that the global community should acknowledge climate crisis not only as an issue in Africa but as what it is a global crisis.

“Action must begin now, and begin where it is hurting most, in Africa. Failure to act will make the crisis everyone’s problem very soon,” he said.

Despite the progress achieved so far, they point out that frontline nations are not compensated for impacts from a crisis they did not cause, a move they say has spiraled global destabilization and inability to reduce the root problem through emissions reductions, they reprimand.

The editorial is being published simultaneously in 259 international journals. A full list
of participating journals can be found here.

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