A Collaborative Framework Highlighting Climate-Sensitive Non-communicable Diseases in Urban Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Hanna-Andrea RotherEmail author
  • Clive E. Sabel
  • Sotiris Vardoulakis
Part of the Sustainable Development Goals Series book series (SDGS)


Climate change vulnerabilities are key environmental and social determinants of health, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where public health and other infrastructure are not yet geared towards counteracting the potential impacts of changing climates. Health-related climate change adaptation research for sub-Saharan Africa is limited and existing research is not effectively translated into practical advice for decision makers. A World University Network (WUN) collaboration project was started in 2016 to investigate climate change impacts on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This interdisciplinary collaboration, established through the Healthy-Polis International Consortium for Urban Environmental Health and Sustainability focuses on the intersection of health, climate and sustainability within urban environments through innovative research methods, co-production of knowledge, capacity building and intervention. NCDs like cancers, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental health are on the increase in sub-Saharan African urban areas and can be further aggravated by climate change. If NCDs and the climate nexus are unaddressed, they will undermine achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Principally, we highlight climate-sensitive NCDs impacts on vulnerable populations, i.e. women, children, elderly, immune compromised and people with low socio-economic status, throughout their life course. We argue that interventions need to target disciplinary and sector ‘intersections’ for effective adaptation strategies. These interventions should be specifically linked to four SDGs, namely, SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). We conclude with capacity development and policy guidance to strengthen sub-Saharan African countries ability to address climate-sensitive NCDs.


Climate change Non-communicable diseases Sustainable development goals Sub-Saharan African Urban development 



We received funding from the WUN in 2015 to assemble a consortium and host a workshop entitled: Healthy-PolisDeveloping Urban Lifecourse Approaches in response to Climate Change. The results of which informed the authors’ collaboration and development of this chapter. The authors thank all the workshop participants for their insights and research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanna-Andrea Rother
    • 1
    Email author
  • Clive E. Sabel
    • 2
  • Sotiris Vardoulakis
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Institute of Occupational MedicineEdinburghUK

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