The whole world celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022. Opportunity seized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw everyone’s attention to women’s health. Health terribly weakened by the harmful consequences of climate change.
Celebrated under the theme: “Equality today for a sustainable future”, the 2022 edition of International Women’s Day is, according to the WHO Regional Director for Africa, “more than current at a time when, together with the effects of Covid-19, climate change has direct impacts on the main determinants of health, as it affects air and water quality, as well as food security, habitat and human settlements “.
According to the WHO, which expressed itself on its official website, extreme climatic phenomena have an impact on the health of women and girls, particularly in terms of disruption of health services. According to emerging evidence, air pollution and heat contribute to poor reproductive health outcomes.
The celebration of the 2022 edition of International Women’s Rights Day has forced the World Health Organization to discuss the multiple consequences women face. “Possible consequences include infertility, intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, perinatal mortality, premature birth and pregnancy-related complications,” notes the WHO on its official website.
Indirectly, environmental degradation and changing climatic conditions increase the risk of developing diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus infection, while aggravating diseases such as malaria, cholera and schistosomiasis affecting children and women in pregnancy, the United Nations organization again reported.
Enough for the WHO Regional Director for Africa to add that “to address these challenges, gender-sensitive action is needed, as well as equitable development that recognizes and strives to eliminate the particular vulnerability. of women and girls to the effects of climate change “.
For her part, Dr Matshidiso Moeti believed that to address the effects of climate change on health, “innovative thinking should be pursued to adopt a more holistic population-based public health approach.”
As such, WHO provides guidance and technical support to governments to ensure that health and environmental interventions, including climate change strategies, are integrated, equitable and fair in the WHO document.
To this end, 19 Member States in the African region benefited from support to assess the capacity of their health sector to cope with the threats posed by climate change, and an equal number committed to COP26 in favor of the Sustainable and Low-Cost Health Systems Program. carbon emissions. In addition, 22 Member States have developed national health adaptation plans.
“Much remains to be done and, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, I urge all stakeholders, from governments and partners to civil society and the common citizen, to support gender-based approaches. Countries and gender sensitive in order to mitigate negative effects of climate change, especially on our vulnerable women and girls, “acknowledged the WHO Regional Director for Africa.
Concluding his speech, Mr. Matshidiso noted in the text that overcoming these inequalities will wish better health, better development and prosperity for all.
Moctar FICOU / VivAfrik