Burkina Faso: Human health

Climate change threatens the health and sanitation sector through more frequent incidences of heatwaves, floods, droughts and storms [31]. Among the key health challenges in Burkina Faso are morbidity and mortality through temperature extremes, vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, waterborne diseases related to extreme weather events (e.g. flooding), such as diarrhoea, and respiratory diseases, which are the number one cause of death [32]. According to the Severe Malaria Observatory, malaria is responsible for 61.5 % of hospitalisations in Burkina Faso and the largest contributor to mortality for children under five years of age [33]. Furthermore, extreme weather events as well as climate impacts on food and water supply are likely to increase the risk of malnutrition, hunger and death by famine. Scientific investigations found a strong link between extreme weather events and mortality patterns in Burkina Faso [34]. Additionally, climate-induced variations in crop yields were negatively associated with children’s nutritional status and child survival in rural areas [35]. Despite increased government funding and expansion of health interventions, access to health care in Burkina Faso remains limited and is becoming increasingly difficult: According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), more than 500 000 people in Burkina Faso have no access to health care because many health and humanitarian organisations have limited or even closed down their operations due to armed conflicts [36].

Exposure to heatwaves

Rising temperatures will result in more frequent heatwaves in Burkina Faso, leading to increased heat-related mortality. Under RCP6.0, the population affected by at least one heatwave per year is projected to increase from 1.7 % in 2000 to 10 % in 2080 (Figure 17).

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

Heat-related mortality

Furthermore, heat-related mortality will likely increase from approximately 2 to about 10 deaths per 100 000 people per year, which translates to an increase by a factor of 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 5 deaths per 100 000 people per year in 2080.

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


[31] 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.
[32] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “CDC in Burkina Faso,” Atlanta, Georgia, 2011.
[33] Severe Malaria Observatory, “Burkina Faso,” 2019. Online available: https://www.severemalaria.org/countries/burkina-faso [Accessed: 31-Oct-2019].
[34] E. Diboulo et al., “Weather and Mortality: A 10 Year Retrospective Analysis of the Nouna Health and Demographic Surveillance System, Burkina Faso,” Glob. Health Action, vol. 5, no. 1, p. 19078, Dec. 2012.
[35] K. Belesova, A. Gasparrini, A. Sié, R. Sauerborn, and P. Wilkinson, “Annual Crop-Yield Variation, Child Survival and Nutrition Among Subsistence Farmers in Burkina Faso,” Am. J. Epidemiol., vol. 187, no. 2, pp. 242–250, 2018.
[36] International Committee of the Red Cross, “Burkina Faso: Increased Armed Violence Means Loss of Health Care for Half a Million People,” 2019. Online available: https://www.icrc.org/en/document/burkina-faso-increased-armed-violence-means-loss-health-care-halfmillion-people [Accessed: 31-Oct-2019].