Vulnerability and Risk Analysis for the Health Sector in Togo

Several climate-related factors have been proven to worsen health risks. Allergies, respiratory diseases, waterborne diseases, vector-borne diseases and cardiovascular diseases are already plaguing sub-Saharan countries like Togo. Climate-related phenomena such as heatwaves, floods and droughts, as well as an elevated risk of natural disasters due to extreme weather patterns, exacerbate these diseases. They are therefore increasingly becoming a major threat to public health. Altered temperatures and rainfall patterns let diseases such as malaria spread. More severe droughts and heat induce crop and food scarcity, increasing the population’s sensitivity to illness. Moreover, Togo’s health system is underfunded, infrastructure is often inadequate or outdated and there is a shortage of suitable staff. This, in turn, leads to poor-quality or unavailability of medical care, all while climate change makes the need for treatment more dire.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) intervenes in the field of health in Togo, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, through the ProSanté programme (Strengthening the health system - reproductive health and sexual rights). One of the objectives of the ProSanté programme is to increase the resilience of the health sector to the effects of climate change, contributing to the broader goal of strengthening the Togolese health system as a whole. In this context, the GIZ requested the conduct of a vulnerability and risk assessment of the health sector, object of this consultancy. The goal was to identify and analyse the health risks caused by the impacts of climate change and to assess the adaptability of the health system. The results will help the process of developing a national sector adaptation plan, meant to strengthen the capacity of the health system, thus improving public health and making it more resilient to climate change.

Within this framework, adelphi and EPOS were assisting the GIZ in the conduct of the climate vulnerability and risk assessment. To achieve this objective, the main health risks in Togo were identified in participatory workshops and consultations. Impact chains were developed, serving as basis for the risk assessment according to the concept of risk presented in the IPCC's 5th Assessment Report. Indicators to measure the various risk factors identified in the impact chains were developed. Besides the quantitative data collection, several field visits allowed the experts to interview health practitioners, local authorities and representatives from various communities in several regions. Finally, the study resulted in a list of practical adaptation options to increase the resilience of the Togolese health sector. In addition to the final report, presented at a final validation workshop in Lomé, the team also provided a monitoring and evaluation plan, as well as a dissemination strategy. Being responsible for overseeing the risk assessment process, adelphi was involved in every single step of the process and contributed fully to all tasks and deliverables.