Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Geography

Collaborative Specialization

Global Health Systems in Africa

Supervisor

Dr. Arku, Godwin

Abstract

Climate change is one of today’s most pressing global issues with its physical, biological and social impacts widely recognized. One area of concern is its potential health consequences. The postulated health effects from climate change are far-reaching that climate change induced health risks are signaled as the most pressing problems to public health in the 21st century. Although developing countries such as Ghana had been suggested as a vulnerable hotspot for the health consequences of climate change, there is a paucity of empirical research on climate change and its health linkages in the country.

The purpose of this dissertation is to examine climate change-health nexus in terms of current knowledge on climate change and health among the general public and health practitioners, as well as health systems preparedness and capacity towards climate change-related health risks in two districts in Ghana. This research adopts a mixed-methods approach that combined quantitative and qualitative data (cross-sectional surveys and in-depth interviews, respectively) to better understand and account for the complexities of climate change perceptions, knowledge, and health systems preparedness and capacities in Ghana. Furthermore, multicriteria decision/evaluation analysis is used to prioritize and identify climate-sensitive human infectious disease of national import to public health under climate change inducement conditions. Methodologically, this research developed a multicriteria evaluation model for climate-sensitive infectious disease prioritization under changing climate.

The research reveals several important findings and suggests potential pointers to policy options. Foremost, it reveals that knowledge on climate change and its health linkages is low within the study contexts which underscores the need for increased education, enlightenment programs on climate change and its associated health problems for the public and health officials. Additionally, it was found that there is a need for efforts to strengthen human and institutional capacity and adaptation within the health systems in order to build health institutions and service providers’ resilience towards climate-related health risks. This effort is very critical as research findings revealed challenges related to incomplete knowledge, inadequate staffing, logistics and infrastructure, and insufficient training on climate change and health. The results of this research also call for improvements in current disease surveillance, forecasting and monitoring systems for climate-sensitive diseases in Ghana. In particular, epidemic prone and food and water related diseases, as they were identified to be of significance to public health under climate change conditions based on the disease prioritization procedure carried out.

Available for download on Friday, January 01, 2021

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