By Carolyne Oyugi

Climate change experts are calling on journalists to report more on the impact of climate change on health and the health systems in Kenya and the world.

Dr. Benard Onyango, Senior Analyst and Researcher at AFIDEP encourages scientists and researchers to develop a mutual relationship to help with communicating and implementation of the many researches gathering dust in Kenya.

“A lot of research has been done in Kenya to prove that climate change has a big impact on health and the health system. Unfortunately, most of that information is not accessible to the public. Journalists are very instrumental in this process, hence the need to form a partnership where researchers can simplify their findings for better communication.” said Dr. Onyango.

He also added that the government needs to prioritise on climate change issues and budget for it in time.

Dr. Onyango was speaking during a two-days training on climate change and health reporting organised by AFIDEP in partnership with KENSJA.

Judith Akolo, science journalist, KBC encourages journalists to always do a deeper analysis of the impact of climate change especially on health.

Akolo said that changes to the ecosystem leads to vector borne diseases, mental stress, malnutrition and even deaths. “We have done so much as a country but if we don’t deal with climate change then the gains will be reversed.”

She added that every time we have cyclones, storms, floods, draughts which may result to deaths or injuries, population displacements and adverse effects on food production, our health system is greatly affected.

Journalists attending the training raised concerns that despite having many research institutions in Kenya, the national budget allocation has been declining over the years. This, they said demoralizes researchers.

The African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) is an African-led, regional non-profit research policy institute established in 2010 to help bridge the gaps between research, policy and practice in development efforts in Africa.

AFIDEP works towards systemic actions that drive a cultural shift from low evidence use to a setting where evidence is actively sought and used routinely in decision-making so that the right investments are made towards the transformation of people’s lives for the better.