Regional Training on Climate Change and Health

Published: 17 March 2023
Last edited: 17 March 2023
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The countries of sub-Saharan Africa are already being severely impacted by the adverse impacts of climate change. Climate extremes are occurring with more intensity and more frequency. Not only do they pose a direct threat to human health and well-being (e.g. through injuries or destruction of health infrastructure), they also alter disease patterns. Most countries have not yet integrated this new reality into their programmatic health planning and budgeting. A major obstacle is still the lack of awareness and understanding that climate change impacts human health.

To address the knowledge gap, a 5-day regional training on the nexus between climate change and health was held in Togo in October 2022. This training was based on training modules produced by GIZ and WHO. Representatives of different partner countries Togo, Cameroon and Benin were invited. The training was co-organized by 5 GIZ projects and co-financed by the GIZ Sector Network Health and Social Protection (SN HeSP) through its Innovation Fund.


East and South Africa
North Africa
West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Buildings and facilities
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Disaster risk reduction
Legal & policy frameworks
One Health
Science and research
Sustainable financing
One Health
Animal health
Food systems
Health effects of climate change and pollution
Health related aspects of socio-economic factors such as poverty, education, social security structures, digitalisation, financing systems, human capacity development 
Neglected tropical diseases, emerging infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance
Water, sanitation and hygiene
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Resilience and disaster risk management
Erratic rainfall
Extreme heat
Increasing temperatures
Loss of Biodiversity
Sea level rise
Storm surges
Vector and water borne diseases
Inefficient management of financial resources
Infrastructure development
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of food security
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Lack of technical capacity
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 13 – Climate action
Sendai Framework
Target 4: Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030
Target 6: Enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030
Target 7: Increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030


Lomé, Maritime, Togo


The health impacts of climate change remain a neglected topic in the global discourse on climate change, as well as in the international health community. The reasons are manifold but can be circumscribed by the high complexity of the topic. To date, there is a lack of research, reference documents (especially in languages other than English), and experts in the field. Moreover, there is a lack in intersectoral collaboration and cooperation between the health and climate change sectors. The resulting hurdles for local policymakers to address the issue are extremely high. Especially regarding climate finance, the health sector is left out. Health ministries [MNG1] need to be strengthened in their capacity to recognize, explain, and address the impact of climate change on their development goals, while environmental ministries should likewise be sensitised to the climate change and health nexus.


Target group:  decision-makers from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, other relevant ministries, and universities from three Francophone countries. The training did not include the peripheral levels of the ministries, or civil society.

How do the building blocks interact?

Trainings are conducted all the time, but only through careful selection of participants, content, and methodologies can such a training achieve long-term impact.

All building blocks are recommendations from the experience of the first regional training. The training set-up was carefully considered, and the building blocks reflect the elements that were key in making the training a successful one.

After being well received as a format during the pilot training, we recommend a focus on regionalisation for future iterations of the climate and health training. Mixing different countries helps break down barriers to working on a complex issue, as countries can benefit from each other's experiences.

However, it is clear that training formats cannot follow a one-size-fits-all format. The climate change-health nexus is complex at its core. It requires different sectors to come together and exchange (new) information. The choice of trainer and methods can have a big impact on how accessible the content becomes for participants. Therefore, building blocks 2-4 highlight different variables to adapt the training to different contexts and goals and outlining follow-up activities that can be used to ensure impact and effectiveness of the training.


  • 25 participants received a 5-day training on the linkage of climate hazards and health outcomes, got acquainted with the key literature on the topic and learnt about the governance and financing aspects of the field.
  • The training provided a starting point for actors to develop key documents which form the strategy on how to address climate change impacts on health for their countries.
  • Participants were sensitized to the importance and the challenges of multisectoral collaboration.
  • Participants received relevant documents, improving access to information.
  • Participants are supported with the next steps through 3 follow-up webinars.  



Although he has been a health professional within and outside the Togolese Ministry of Health for many years, Medanou Gbobada had no prior knowledge of the impacts that climate change can have on health. When he was selected as the focal point on the topic, he felt overwhelmed at first, as he did not know what was expected of him.

As a participant in the first regional training on climate change and health, he began to understand how the two topics are interconnected. The training allowed him to become familiarized with the principles of climate change, as well as the technical terminology, international governance structures, and information on scientific evidence. Medanou also began to understand the mechanisms of how climate risks impact health outcomes. He discovered the tools, networks, and financial opportunities available to increase the health sector's resilience to the effects of climate change.

Today, he feels more confident and excited about taking on his role as focal point. The training allowed him to set priorities and become more integrated into the climate community by attending COP27 shortly thereafter, where he began to expand his network among health and climate professionals.

As a focal point, he is in the process of integrating climate aspects into the national health development plan and national health policy, establishing a Task Force within the ministry, and taking the lead in developing a project for the Green Climate Fund.

Contributed by

alina.berendsen_42733's picture

Alina Berendsen Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammebarbeit (GIZ)