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EPHA Raises Climate Change as a Matter of Public Health Agenda

EPHA has raised climate change as one of the most identified public health agenda and priority focus area for its future interventions. This was said at a research capacity building workshop held in Addis Ababa on the prime global topic of climate change with special attention to climate variability and changes and implications for malaria control and elimination in Africa, from April 28 to 30, 2014 at the Siyonat hotel.

The primary objectives of the workshop were to showcase available information and tools to support the research community to explore the impact of climate variability and change on malaria prevalence and to elicit discussion on current needs and recommendations for improved decision-making.


The three day long workshop that was convened by the Ethiopian Public Health Association (EPHA), School of Public Health-Addis Ababa University (SPH-AAU), the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), with funding and technical support from the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) the Colombia Global Center for Africa (CGC-Africa) and the Health climate Foundation (HCF) deliberated on how to advance the understanding of climate variability and change in relation to the malaria burden to better inform policy decisions related to current control and future elimination strategies. To this end, the workshop explored data, methodologies and tools that could inform national public health researchers on improved assessments of population vulnerability.

The Climate Predictability Tool (CPT), developed by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), to assist climatologists in making robust predictions was tested for the first time as a potential tool for the malaria research community to assess the relationship of malaria to large-scale climate processes. In addition, a multi-model malaria platform (MMMP) was developed to explore uncertainty associated with the predictability of malaria over time using a series of process-based models.

The motivation for the workshop came from an NIH funded project entitles ‘Climate and Malaria in East Africa’ which has as its goal that malaria researchers in affected countries in East Africa would be able to identify opportunities for improving the effectiveness of prevention, control and elimination strategies by incorporating the understanding likely short and long term changes in the climate in their analysis. 

Opening remarks were made by the representatives of the three organizing institutions namely by Dr Wakgari Deressa, Dr Madeleine Thomson and Mr Hailegnaw Eshete from SPH-AAU, IRI and EPHA respectively. 

Dr Wakgari said that compared to the pre-intervention period 2005, malaria cases and deaths in recent years have declined by >50%. The aim of the malaria control program in Ethiopia is towards elimination. Despite these important gains, malaria transmission is highly heterogeneous across the different parts of the country.

According to the most recent World Malaria Report malaria in East Africa has declined substantially since the turn of the century, when the Millennium Goals were first established, Madeleine Thomson, from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society mentioned this in her speech to participants of the workshop.

Ato Hailegnaw Eshete, Executive Director of EPHA on his part said EPHA is pleased to collaborate working on one of our priority of public health issue of climate change and further has interest to continue its collaboration with other institutions for the successful implementation and expansion of Health and Climate initiatives across the region.

In Ethiopia, malaria continues to be a major public health concern with an estimated two-thirds of the national population at risk for transmission. 

The poster/paper emerging from this workshop will be submitted to the Healthy Futures conference on Climate Change and Vector Borne Diseases: Past, Present and Future to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from November 18 to 21, 2014.