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Transdisciplinarity Enabled

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Table 1 Consensus recommendations on policy from workshop held on “Climate and Health in Africa: 10 Years On” held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in April 2011

From: Climate and health in Africa

Theme 1 Policy Theme 2 Practice Theme 3 Services and Data Theme 4 Research and Education
Support effective implementation of the Joint Statement on Climate Change and Health in Africa adopted by African Ministers of Health and Environment in Luanda, 2010, as an overarching platform for addressing climate and health issues to: -Integrate climate health risk management into cross-sector planning and practice for adaptation to climate variability and change by developing climate services and products that address disease prevention at end-user level. -Develop tailored services in partnerships with weather/climate and health organisations. These should recognise that health forecasts, which are different from weather forecasts, should be well designed and understood by all. They should act as early warnings to users of differing types, that assist in the prediction of future health outcomes. -Understand the relationships between climate and climate-sensitive diseases and health issues under different environmentalconditions through interdisciplinary, multi-sectoral and multi-centre research.
-Bridge the gap between policies and practices through legislation and guidelines, appropriate planning, including relevant vulnerability assessments, programmatic support and multi-sectoral and participatory processes that are gender sensitive. -Create a human resource center/virtual hub where expertise is shared in order to develop the capacity of African health and climate communities, institutions, practitioners and negotiators to understand/integrate climate change challenges into policy, socio-economics, planning and programming by identifying institutions and organisations in Africa that can deliver training courses and conduct research on “Climate, Health and Prevention”. -Improve existing data, for example through: the digitisation of historical health and climatic data; the increased use of metadata analyses and validation tools; the inclusion of aggregated health data at appropriate spatial and temporal scales; and the enhanced awareness of, and use of, observational and processed data, appropriate satellite, and climate model data sources. -Ensure that climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies are informed by multi-disciplinary research.
-Support countries to establish integrated health surveillance and climate observation and processing systems. -Strengthen community-based organisations by liaising, in a gender-sensitive fashion, with their leaders to develop locally owned sustainable strategies for adaptation to climate change and/or variability in their communities taking account of local knowledge rooted in social history and disseminated by appropriate channels, including the mass media. -Access and use data in a systematic manner in order to identify vulnerable groups and areas. This needs to involve: employing data strategically within and across sectors; considering trend and seasonality issues; using data to evaluate the success of interventions; and, importantly, understanding how communities cope. -Develop capacity within Africa for the generation, interpretation and use of climate, health and other interdisciplinary data enabling informed, evidence-based decision making.
-Strengthen health systems using climate information tailored to decision needs at all relevant levels and time scales. Define the different levels and needs (including learning outcomes) of health practitioners and stakeholders across different geographic scales, specifically researchers and teachers, graduate and undergraduate students, practitioners in the public health system, community opinion leaders, traditional healers, impacted communities and other special interest groups and develop appropriate curricula for adaptation to climate change and/or variability in the health sector. -Incorporating other data into these health forecast services, for example population, rural vs. urban residence, migration, nutritional status, environmental and poverty data. -Standardise and quality control data collection and storage, ensuring data are available on relevant temporal and spatial scales.
-Make evidence-based, sound climate-informed decisions to implement a set of preventive actions to reduce population vulnerability and lessen the additional burden imposed by climate-sensitive diseases and health issues according to their respective epidemiological circumstances. -Promote a gender-sensitive approach to interventions on climate and health in cross-sectoral disaster risk reduction and preventive health strategies. -Collaboration +: new, multi-disciplinary initiatives that involve communities beyond health and climate/ weather; build upon existing initiatives and progress; aim to meet emerging challenges; and communicate with end-users in appropriate ways. -Enhance knowledge transfer and communication of information across disciplines and communities through existing networks, encouraging the introduction of climate and health into the curriculum at all levels of education.
Anticipate, prepare for and respond to the health consequences of extreme weather events, particularly by strengthening the functioning of health systems and other relevant sectors.   -Commitment at all levels that brings climate and health communities together, clarifies responsibilities, builds capacity in the climate and health sectors to achieve these services, facilitates joint initiatives and ensures resources such as data are shared in a suitable way. -Strengthen existing partnerships and collaborations while developing new groups and building links across disciplines.
Multilateral partners to consider the significant co-benefits of environment integrity, population health and consequent economic development that can result from mitigation and adaptation policies in the climate and health sectors and to support African countries in gaining access to resources under the various climate-related funds.