Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Change and Environmental Health Impacts in Nigeria: A Narrative Review

Morufu Olalekan Raimi, Tonye Vivien Odubo, Adedoyin Oluwatoyin Omidiji


Climate change is a threat multiplier and a prime cause of universal threat to health in the 21st century, including 4th industrial revolution. The health effects of climate change will increase dramatically over the next few years and pose a risk to human life and the well-being of billions of people. As we all know, the milieu is fundamental to our sustained earth survival and environmental changes (natural and artificial) affect it either to the benefit or detriment of humans. Climate change is one of such changes in the physical environment which has grave consequences for the existence of mankind. Climate change is interestingly, no longer a speculative subject. There is a good international scientific consensus existing to show that this phenomenon is real and if recent global warming movements continue, temperature rise, ocean levels and more frequently weather conditions that is extreme (storms, heat-waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, etc.) may perhaps cause severe food shortages, loss of shelter, water, livelihoods, extinction of flora and fauna species. In the recent past, the earth has witnessed devastating weather-related events in different portions of the globe including hurricanes (e.g., Katrina and Rita in USA), tsunamis, typhoons, flooding especially in the Asian Continent, wild fires especially in Australia, USA, etc. Currently, the on-going flood incident in Pakistan that has so far claimed about 1,600 lives and rendered another four million people homeless is a sad reminder of the ugly and devastating consequences of global warming on the environment. There is no gainsaying the fact that humankind is paying dearly for the massive alterations in the environment that have induced changes in climate. This is because of frequent incidence of changes in climate related disasters in the world today. There is hardly any month that passes without an incident occurring in one part of the globe or another since the advent of the 21st century. Changes in climate has significant and potentially devastating health consequences, whether through direct actions (e.g., deaths resulting from heat wave and weather disasters) or disruption of complex biological methods (e.g., changes in infectious diseases patterns, supplies in fresh water and production of food).The report of the fourth assessment of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have globally submitted that “it is estimated that the health of millions of people is affected, for instance, malnutrition increases; deaths increase, diseases and injury; burden of increase diarrheal diseases; frequency of increased cardio-respiratory diseases caused by high levels of ground-level ozone in cities due to climate change; besides altered spatial distribution of some communicable diseases”. The association amongst changes in climate, its drivers, systemic effects, health and socioeconomic growth, mitigation and adaptation has been specified.

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