Kampala :The Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Tree Adoption Uganda (TAU), joined hands to commemorate World Health Day in a tree-planting exercise, in line with the day’s theme, “Our Planet, Our Health”.
Through the “Our planet, our health” campaign, the Ministry of Health and WHO highlighted the need to address the dangers of climate change while also urging the public to take steps to protect the planet, their health and prioritize the well-being of societies.
The tree-planting activity took place at the Ministry of Health headquarters and other selected health facilities in Kampala and Wakiso districts.
“The impacts of climate change on the health sector in Uganda are already being experienced and have been characterized by heavy rains associated with floods, landslides, population displacement, destruction of health infrastructure and disease outbreaks,” said Dr Daniel Kyabayinze the Director in Charge of Public Health at the Ministry of Health.
The Acting WHO Representative to Uganda, Dr Bayo Fatunmbi highlighted that climate change remains one of the greatest threats to human health, “on this World Health Day 2022, WHO is drawing the world’s attention to the urgent steps that must be taken to keep humans and the planet healthy and to foster a movement to ensure healthy societies.”
“WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year occur because of climate change. Concrete and sustained actions taken today will help ensure a safe and healthy planet,” he added.
In November 2021, as part of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) health program initiatives, Uganda committed to taking concrete actions toward reducing climate change effects in the country.
Uganda, like many other countries, is greatly affected by the impact of climate change. For instance, in 2021, more than 223,000 people were affected by drought, floods, landslides, heavy storms, and fire outbreaks in the country. An estimated 20,000 people were also internally displaced due to the destruction of infrastructure and the risk of waterborne and climate-sensitive diseases.
Moreover, natural hazards also exacerbate already high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition while deforestation and the use of non-recycled plastic have also been one of the major challenges affecting the Ugandan environment.
Therefore, the 2022 World Health Day commemoration activities will draw attention to these dangers and implore Ugandans to protect their environment which in turn will reverse the effects of climate change thus improving their standards of living and safeguarding their health.
The tree planting event, which is part of the activities to achieve the broader aspect of the COP26 commitments, precedes a high-level advocacy meeting that will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on April 14, 2022. The event will engage development partners, civil society, and academia to discuss ways to support the Ugandan government in implementing the COP26 commitments on climate change.