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Climate change is contributing to Uganda’s increased illness burden.

Environmental scientists have sounded the alarm, attributing Uganda’s escalating disease burden to the impacts of climate change, citing man-made disruptions to fragile ecosystems as a key factor.

The revelations were made at the Climate Change and Health Symposium, which was held ahead of COP 28, and put light on the vital nexus between environmental shifts and public health concerns.

“Climate change has significantly increased the prevalence of waterborne and vector-borne diseases, such as cholera, Ebola, hepatitis E, and malaria, reaching approximately 75% due to ecosystem disruptions,” Dr. Prof Charles Batte, Executive Director of Adopt a Tree, warned.

The strain on Uganda’s healthcare system is apparent, made worse by a lack of facilities and medical professionals to efficiently treat the country’s mounting health burden. Dr. JB Isunju of the MAK School of Public Health underscored the importance of this important issue.

“This situation puts immense pressure on the healthcare system, and we face challenges in coping with the increasing demand for medical attention.” He went on to say

Significant investments in robust research concentrating on the vulnerability of disrupted ecosystems are now being advocated for by key stakeholders in the health sector.

They stress the necessity of capacity building in providing medical practitioners with the tools they need to counteract the bad health trend caused by climate change.

“Investing in understanding the impact of destroyed ecosystems is critical,” said Dr. Prof Charles Batte, reinforcing the need for immediate action. We must provide our healthcare providers with the knowledge and resources they need to address the health hazards posed by climate change.”

The Ministry of Health highlighted a huge budget gap in climate health funding of approximately 24 billion shillings, underlining the inability to address this gap alone. Dr. Herbert Nabasa, Commissioner of Environmental Health, emphasized the importance of working together with all key stakeholders to address and alleviate the growing health burden.

“As a nation, we cannot face this challenge alone.” To effectively address the impact of climate change on public health, we require collaboration and integration with all major stakeholders,” Dr. Herbert Nabasa emphasized.

 

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