The project is being piloted in only three districts in the country, namely Gomoa West in the Central Region, Keta in the Volta Region and Bongo in the Upper East Region, and is expected to end in 2014.
In a speech, the Gomoa West District Director of Health Services, Dr Yaw Ofori Yeboah, said human activities over the years had contributed to changes in global and regional climate conditions, resulting in extreme weather events such as flooding and drought.
Dr Yeboah also said climate change posed a significant threat to public health, adding that apart from floods displacing people, it also contributed to the formation of breeding grounds for mosquitoes and diarrhoea-related diseases through the contamination of water sources.
He said erratic rainfall patterns had negative consequences on rain-fed agriculture, culminating in drought and famine, leading to malnutrition.
The project, “Integrating Climate Change into Management of Priority Health Risk in Ghana” is a collaboration between the UNDP, the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service.
Dr Yeboah said the project was aimed at strengthening the district’s health systems to mitigate the effect of climate change on health and adequately respond to the resulting health challenges with emphasis on malaria and diarrhoea.
He added that improvement in our healthcare system and emergency preparedness could help to reduce the health effects of climate change.
Mr Isaac Adams, Director of Research, Statistics and Information Management at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health, urged the pilot districts to become learning centres where others could come and learn about the project.
Dr Opoku Fofie, who represented the Regional Director of Health Services, gave an assurance that the Regional Health Directorate would give full support to the Gomoa District in the implementation of the project.
The Gomoa West District Chief Executive, Mr Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, commended the UNDP for providing funds for the project.
He also gave the assurance that the district assembly would sustain the project and appealed to residents in the district to plant more trees.