How climate change is reinvigorating Africa's cholera outbreak

In Nigeria, in Kogi, floods forced thousands of residents from their homes in October 2022. AP - Fatai Campbell

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The African Public Health Agenda Conference, organized by the NGO Amref Health Africa and Africa CDC, the health agency of the African Union, was held in Rwanda from March 5-8.

Among the topics covered: climate change and its impact on health.

The risk of new epidemics has been pointed out, in particular for cholera, which has experienced an exponential increase in recent months, partly linked to floods and climatic events.


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With our correspondent in Kigali,

Lucie Mouillaud

In the month of January alone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), cholera has already reached more than 30% of the total number of cases recorded in Africa over the whole of 2022. 26,000 cases have been identified, including 660 deaths.

A situation, according to Dr. Githinji Gitahi, CEO of Amref, partly due to

climate change



We are seeing more and more cholera epidemics

, and we are also seeing interruptions in sanitation and water supply systems.

In Malawi, there are very strong outbreaks of cholera because the floods cut off the water installations.


"Climate change is disrupting many ways of life on the continent and beyond. Our response to these public health threats will require robust inter-sectoral and cross-border collaboration."

~ Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma at the #MinisterialMeeting on #Cholera in #Malawi.

— Africa CDC (@AfricaCDC) March 10, 2023

Malawi is going through one of the deadliest cholera epidemics in its history since March 2022, after the passage of Tropical Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe.

For Dr. Adelheid Onyango, Director of the Universal Health Coverage group for WHO in Africa, faced with the multiplication of climatic disasters, the development of quality health infrastructure is essential to avoid the appearance of epidemic outbreaks after floods. :


We need to approach this issue as a development issue and show together, right away, how climate and other sectors are intertwined.

The actions that are needed are not, per se, about how to manage a climate event, but about building the resilience of communities, so that people are more protected from these events.


Currently, 12 African countries are recording cases of cholera, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

Certain regions of the continent are more at risk.

In places where there is flooding and water resources are contaminated.

The increase in the number of floods will potentially create more and more recurrent situations of epidemic cases, in particular cholera...

Doctor Brama Koné on the impact of climate change on epidemics in Africa

Lucie Mouillaud


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  • Rwanda

  • Health and medicine

  • WHO

  • Climate change