Climate change to take centre stage at Rwanda health forum

Lazarus Chakwera

Climate change is expected to take centre stage at the fifth edition of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (Ahaic) 2023, which is expected to take place from March 5 to 8 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Co-hosted by Amref Health Africa, Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, the African Union and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Ahaic 2023 is said to be one of the largest high-profile health events held in Africa every two years.

The conference is expected to bring together policymakers, government representatives, development partners, opinion shapers, innovators and civil society to discuss health policies for Africa amid challenges such as climate change, conflict and economic recession.


“This will be the first time that a global health conference in Africa focuses on climate change as a key determinant of health.

“We know that climate change and health are intrinsically intertwined, yet they have, for decades now, been treated as two separate issues,” Amref Health Africa Group Chief Executive Officer Githinji Gitahi said.

Gitahi added that at Ahaic 2023, stakeholders will be exploring themes at the nexus of climate change and health, including a rapidly warming planet, pandemic preparedness, food security and nutrition.


Ahaic 2023 comes against the backdrop of renewed calls by African leaders for more urgent action against climate change as its impacts continue to be felt on the continent.

“We are already feeling the effects of deteriorating global health through extreme weather events and food insecurity, limited access to clean water and frequent epidemics.

“Yet these issues remain on the periphery of climate conversations despite the existence of scientific evidence that climate change threatens our wellbeing,” Rwanda Minister of Health Sabin Nsanzimana said.

At the conference, African leaders will reportedly be urging the global community to renew its commitments to end poverty and improve health and people’s wellbeing while protecting the planet.

At international fora, Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has called on biggest contributors to climate change to pay up for the damage they have caused.

A note on Ahaic 2023 says the conference aims to shape a joint African position on climate and health ahead of critical conversations that will take place at the World Health Assembly, this year’s United Nations General Assembly and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties later this year.

Health stakeholders from Malawi are expected to take part in activities at the conference, themed ‘Resilient Health Systems for Africa: Re-envisioning the Future Now’.

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