The high and volatile food prices that triggered a renewed interest in food security since the 2008 – 0 9 crisis are expected to continue due to several factors that include the impacts of climate change. Current policy prescriptions focus on food production; however, a broader approach based on food systems is more appropriate as it encompasses all aspects of food production, storage, dist ribution and consumption, all of which will be affected by climate change and especially by the growing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. As most low - income groups in both rural and urban areas are net buyers of food, access and affordabili ty are central concerns. There is also a need for more attention to urban food security .
Southern Africa is due to become hotter and drier as a result of climate change, and this is going to change the country’s disease profile.
But we are currently ill-prepared to address potential threats, and we particularly need to develop “early warning systems of climate stressors… and early mobilisation of disaster and emergency response services”.
This is according to Jonathan Elliot Myers and Hanna-Andrea Rother, from the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health Research, writing in the SA Health Review 2012/13.
Speaking at the third People’s Health Assembly at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) the National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said that the first few years of the National Health Insurance (NHI) system would be dedicated to building the foundation phase.
Motsoaledi explained: “In South Africa, the next five years will be dedicated to building the foundations of the NHI system. This includes strengthening the public health system, which we have started to do.
“Practically, this means improving the management, improving the availability of medicines and other commodities, providing good quality health care, ensuring that health care providers are well trained and committed to providing the best care possible.
This year’s report on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) highlights several milestones. The target of reducing extreme poverty by half has been reached five years ahead of the 2015 deadline, as has the target of halving the proportion of people who lack dependable access to improved sources of drinking water. Conditions for more than 200 million people living in slums have been ameliorated—double the 2020 target. Primary school enrolment of girls equalled that of boys, and we have seen accelerating progress in reducing child and maternal mortality.
The Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly concluded Saturday after adopting 21 resolutions and three decisions on a broad range of health issues. The six days of discussions involved nearly 3000 delegates, including health ministers and senior health officials from amongst the 194 WHO Member States, as well as representatives from civil society and other stakeholders.
The agenda covered some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing public health today.
This report provides evidence that health inequities can and need to be addressed through a holistic approach. Health inequities, and the resulting social injustice are closely linked with other issues such as poverty, gender inequality and human rights violations which in turn, have an impact on education, transport, health, agriculture, and overall well-being. Our interventions should therefore be multi-sectoral, going beyond health to address social and economic determinants – malnutrition, alcohol abuse, poor housing, indoor air pollution and poverty, among others.
CLIMATE change could undermine health efforts put in place in the past few decades, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said yesterday.
African countries are expected to be the most adversely affected by climate change, with widespread poverty hindering their ability to adapt to extreme weather events.
According to the Lancet medical journal, climate change is the greatest global health threat of the 21st century.
The World Health Organisation predicts that changing climate conditions will lead to increases in malaria, cholera and dengue fever, as well as losses of life due to extreme weather events.
Climate change will exacerbate the existing vulnerabilities of children in South Africa, unless mitigation and adaptation strategies are child-sensitive and implemented swiftly.
‘Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on Children in South Africa’ study, made public recently, highlights the likely impact of climate change on children’s health, education, nutrition, safety and access to adequate housing and sanitation in South Africa – both directly and indirectly.
Climate change will increase the vulnerability of children in South Africa, according to a new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
With the UN’s climate-change summit in Durban (COP-17) barely a week away, Unicef’s study, which was released on Saturday, calls on policy makers to focus on children in addressing climate change.
South Africa’s climate is already changing, it says, with higher average annual temperatures and less rainfall in recent decades. In future, all regions of the country are expected to be warmer, particularly inland, with variable rainfall, which could lead to more floods and droughts.
Economic status, education, access to clean water and sanitation, nutrition and the environment determine the level of health of persons, communities or countries, and so does the extent to which rights are enjoyed or denied.
The World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, held Oct. 19-21 in Brazil, defined 15 commitments that should be undertaken by governments, international organisations, the private sector and civil society.