Niger: Human health

Climate change threatens the health and sanitation sector through more frequent incidences of heatwaves, floods, droughts and storms. Among the key health challenges in Niger are morbidity and mortality through vector-borne diseases such as malaria, waterborne diseases related to extreme weather events (e.g. flooding) such as diarrhoea and cholera, respiratory diseases, meningitis, measles, 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 [34]. Many of these challenges are expected to become more severe under climate change. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Niger recorded around 8 million cases of malaria in 2018 [35]. Climate change is likely to have an impact on malaria transmission periods and the geographic range of vector-borne diseases: In Niger, the general malaria risk is projected to fall due to rising temperatures, however, some regions are likely to become more vulnerable to malaria, for instance, due to more frequent incidences of flooding [36], [37]. A study found that temperature increases and low humidity due to climate change have the potential to prepone the seasonal onset of meningitis and significantly increase the number of meningitis cases [38], [39]. Niger is part of the so-called Meningitis Belt, which largely coincides with the Sahel region and which is where the majority of meningitis epidemics occur. In 2015, the country suffered from a major meningitis epidemic with 8 500 reported cases and 573 deaths [40]. Climate change also poses a threat to food security since households in Niger depend on agricultural production for up to 40 % of their food consumption [5].

Exposure to heatwaves

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

Rising temperatures will result in more frequent heatwaves in Niger, 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 12 % in 2080 (Figure 17).

Heat-related mortality

Figure 18: Projections of heatrelated mortality for Niger for different GHG emissions scenarios assuming no adaptation to increased heat.

Furthermore, under RCP6.0, heat-related mortality will likely increase from about 3 to about 10 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 6 deaths per 100 000 people per year in 2080.


[34] WHO, “Health Compendium Consolidated Appeal Process: Niger,” Geneva, Switzerland, 2012.
[35] WHO, “World Malaria Report 2019,” Rome, Italy, 2019.
[36] R. Boyce, R. Reyes, M. Matte, M. Ntaro, E. Mulogo, J. P. Metlay, L. Band, and M. J. Siedner, “Severe Flooding and Malaria Transmission in the Western Ugandan Highlands: Implications for Disease Control in an Era of Global Climate Change,” J. Infect. Dis., vol. 214, pp. 1403–1410, 2016.
[37] C. Caminade, A. E. Jones, R. Ross, and G. Macdonald, “Malaria in a Warmer West Africa,” Nat. Clim. Chang., vol. 6, no. November, pp. 984–985, 2016.
[38] A. F. Abdussalam, A. J. Monaghan, D. F. Steinhoff, V. M. Dukic, M. H. Hayden, T. M. Hopson, J. E. Thornes, and G. C. Leckebusch, “The Impact of Climate Change on Meningitis in Northwest Nigeria: An Assessment Using CMIP5 Climate Model Simulations,” Weather. Clim. Soc., vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 371–379, 2014.
[39] A. M. Molesworth, L. E. Cuevas, S. J. Connor, A. P. Morse, and M. C. Thomson, “Environmental Risk and Meningitis Epidemics in Africa,” Emerg. Infect. Dis., vol. 9, no. 10, pp. 1287–1293, 2003.
[40] WHO, “Meningococcal Disease – Niger (Update),” 2015. Online available: [Accessed: 21-Jan-2020].