Ghana: Human health

Climate change threatens the health and sanitation sector through more frequent incidences of heatwaves, floods, droughts and dry winds [32]. Climate change impacts on health can be direct, e.g. via increasing exposure to heatwaves or floods, or indirect, e.g. via more frequent incidences of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, as well as via increasing food insecurity or malnutrition.

Heatwave exposure and mortality

Rising temperatures will result in more frequent heatwaves in Ghana, which will increase heat-related mortality. Under RCP6.0, the population affected by at least one heatwave per year is projected to rise from 5 % in 2000 to 19 % in 2080 (Figure 17). Furthermore, under RCP6.0, heat-related mortality will likely increase from about 1 to about 5 deaths per 100 000 people per year, which translates to an increase by a factor of more than five towards the end of the century compared to year 2000 levels, provided that no adaptation to hotter conditions will take place (Figure 18). Under RCP2.6, heat-related mortality is projected to increase to about 2 deaths per 100 000 people per year.

Figure 18: Projections of at least once per year exposure of population to heatwaves for Ghana for different GHG emissions scenarios.
Figure 19: Projections of heat-related mortality for Ghana for different GHG emissions scenarios assuming no adaption to increased heat.

Among the key health challenges in Ghana are also communicable diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV, maternal and children’s health as well as malnutrition, many of which are expected to become increasingly severe under climate change. Studies show that Malaria, diarrhea, and Cerebro Spinal Meningitis are being aggravated by impacts of climate change in Ghana [33].


[32] A. Haines, R. S. Kovats, D. Campbell-Lendrum, and C. Corvalan, “Climate change and human health: Impacts, vulnerability and public health,” Public Health, vol. 120, no. 7, pp. 585–596, Jul. 2006.
[33] D. B. K. Dovie, M. Dzodzomenyo, and O. A. Ogunseitan, “Sensitivity of health sector indicators’ response to climate change in Ghana,” Sci. Total Environ., vol. 574, pp. 837–846, Jan. 2017.