Ethiopia: Human health

Climate change threatens the health and sanitation sector through more frequent incidences of heatwaves, floods, droughts and storms [30]. Among the key health challenges in Ethiopia are morbidity and mortality through temperature extremes, vectorborne diseases, such as malaria, non-vector borne diseases related to extreme weather events (e.g. flooding and droughts) such as diarrhoea and cholera, respiratory diseases, injury and mortality through extreme weather events as well as climate impacts on food and water supply, which can increase the risk of malnutrition and hunger [31]. Many of these challenges are expected to become more severe under climate change. The Ethiopian Ministry of Health estimates that already today, around 68 % of the population is at risk of contracting malaria [32]. Climate change is likely to lengthen transmission periods and alter the geographic range of vector-borne diseases, for instance, due to rising temperatures. Malaria could expand from lowland areas in Somali and Afar to highland areas in Tigray or Amhara [33].

Heatwave exposure and mortality

Rising temperatures will result in more frequent heatwaves in Ethiopia, leading to increased heat-related mortality. Under RCP6.0, the population affected by at least one heatwave per year is projected to increase from 0.3 % in 2000 to 2.1 % in 2080 (Figure 17).

Figure 17: Projections of population exposure to heatwaves at least once a year for Ethiopia for different GHG emissions scenarios.

Furthermore, under RCP6.0, heat-related mortality will likely increase from about 2 to about 6 deaths per 100 000 people per year, which translates to an increase by a factor of more than three 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 4 deaths per 100 000 people per year in 2080.

Figure 18: Projections of heat-related mortality for Ethiopia for different GHG emissions scenarios assuming no adaptation to increased heat.


[30] B. Simane, H. Beyene, W. Deressa, A. Kumie, K. Berhane, and J. Samet, “Review of Climate Change and Health in Ethiopia: Status and Gap Analysis,” Ethiop. J. Heal. Dev., vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 28–41, 2016.
[31] Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia, “CRGE Vision: Ethiopia’s Vision for a Climate Resilient Green Economy.”
[32] Ministry of Health of Ethiopia, “Malaria Prevention & Control Program,” 2013. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 07-Oct-2019].
[33] Ministry of Water of Ethiopia, “Climate Change National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) of Ethiopia,” Addis Ababa, 2007.