How climate change is linked with African migrant health

The study Climate Change and African Migrant Health, published in the International journal of environmental research and public health, has made an interesting retrospective on this topic

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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How climate change is linked with African migrant health

The climate crisis is said to be profoundly and substantially changing migratory flows across the globe. The study Climate Change and African Migrant Health, published in the International journal of environmental research and public health, has made an interesting retrospective on this topic, which directly and indirectly affects the two hemispheres of our planet.

The researchers explain: "Climate change exacerbates existing sociopolitical and economic vulnerabilities, undermining livelihoods, inflating the risk of conflict, and making it difficult for people to remain stable. In 2019, around 25 million new displacements occurred due to natural disasters.

This review aims to summarize the existing evidence regarding the impact of climate change on the health of African immigrants. Nine databases were systematically searched using a strategy developed in collaboration with a subject librarian.

Potentially relevant articles were identified, screened, and reviewed by at least two reviewers, with a third reviewer resolving conflicts where necessary. Data were extracted from relevant articles using a standardized form."

How climate change is linked with African migrant health

Researchers also added in their study: "Seven studies (three cross-sectional, two qualitative, one cohort, and one need assessment report) were identified; they included different categories of African migrants and reported on various aspects of health.

The included articles report on climate change, e.g., flooding, drought, and excess heat, resulting in respiratory illness, mental health issues, malnutrition, and premature mortality among African immigrants. This review suggests climate change adversely affects the physical, mental, and social health of African immigrants.

It also highlights a knowledge gap in evidence related to the impact of climate change on the health of African immigrants. One USA study that assessed the effect of air pollution on over one million migrants from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, Oceania, and North America reports that immigrants originating from Asia, Africa, and Latin America experienced higher annual average exposures to fine particles than those from other regions.

Although the authors did not distinguish the outcomes for African immigrants from the outcomes for immigrants from other regions, they note that the differences in average fine particle exposure were smaller between immigrants by time since immigration than by region of origin.

They also report that immigrants from Asia, Africa, and Latin America had higher premature mortality attributable to fine particle exposure compared to immigrants from other regions.