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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2021, 9(1), 5-17
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-9-1-2
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Climate Change and Public Health Challenges in the Horn of Africa: The Need for Sustainable Leadership and Institutions

Begna Dugassa1,

1The Oromo Studies Association (OSA), Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Pub. Date: December 08, 2020

Cite this paper:
Begna Dugassa. Climate Change and Public Health Challenges in the Horn of Africa: The Need for Sustainable Leadership and Institutions. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2021; 9(1):5-17. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-9-1-2


Accumulated indigenous knowledge and scientific data prove that climate change is real. In the Horn of Africa, climate change is unmistakably visible. Instead of rain coming seasonally, it comes more sporadically. Frequently, the region experiences either severe flooding or drought. Lakes, rivers, and ponds are drying out, and forest fires are becoming more prevalent and intense. The highland regions of the Horn of Africa are fast losing their biodiversity. Climate change is aggravating food insecurity, water scarcity, and increasing the rate of water-food-borne diseases. It causes anthropogenic and zoonosis disease transmission to be more prevalent and aggravates heat-related disorders, such as respiratory and seasonal allergies. These conditions are fostering competition for resources and leading to conflicts. Climate change is becoming a major public health challenge of the century. Objectives: This paper's primary objective is raising awareness of the risks that climate change poses and advancing the need to develop sustainable leadership and institutions. The secondary aim is exploring the role of sustainable leadership and institutions in transforming society, mitigating and adapting to climate change and managing emerging public health problems. Methods: Using the “upstream” public health metaphor, I explore the relationships between climate change and public health problems and provide theoretical reasoning for developing sustainable leadership and institutions. Findings: For the Horn of Africa, climate change is the major public health challenge of the century. Climate change affects health in three major pathways: a) changing the severity or frequency of health problems; b) creating unprecedented or unanticipated health problems; c) multiplying health threats in places where they have not been known. Conclusions: Preventing those complex public health problems requires the development of sustainable leadership and institutions. Effective ways of adapting and mitigating climate change are fostering sustainable development and sustainable culture. The pursuits of public health goals are supported and supplemented by institutional and leadership development. Hence, public health needs to advance the development of sustainable leadership and institutions.

sustainable leadership sustainable institute culture of sustainability sustainable culture climate change public health Horn of Africa

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