Evidence shows that the SADC region is experiencing increasing frequency of hot days and decreasing frequency of extremely cold days. Rainfall trends are variable but evidence points to an increased inter-annual variability, with extremely wet periods and more intense droughts in different countries. Projections show that changes will not be uniform over the region with the central, southern land mass extending over Botswana, parts of north western South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe being likely to experience the greatest warming of0.2°C to 0.5°C per decade. Frequency of extremely dry winters and springs will increase to roughly 20%, while the frequency of extremely wet summers will double.
Warming is also predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of tropical storms in the Indian Ocean.The region is vulnerable to the impact of climate change due to poverty, high pre-existing disease burden, fragmented health services, and water and food insecurity. No substantial studies assessing the association between climate change and health in the SADC region have been conducted. Where research has been conducted, it focused on infectious diseases – particularly malaria – and little work had been done on attributing disease burden to climate change and evaluating strategies to adapt to climate change. Furthermore, an overview of health considerations in the National Adaptation Programmes of Action for climate change in least-developed countries and small island states found that health was not seen as a priority, as most activities focused on biodiversity and agricultural activities.Very few institutions specialising in climate change and health were identified in the SADC region.