Heatwaves and Health Risks in the Northern Part of Senegal: Analysing the Distribution of Temperature Related Diseases and Associated Risk Factors

Author: Sy I, Cissé B, Ndao B, Diouf aA, Sarr MA, Ndiaye O, Ndiaye Y, Badiane D, Lalou R, Janicot S, Ndione J

Year: 2021

The Sahelian zone of Senegal is marked by heatwave events due to temperatures increase especially in 2013 exceeding 45 ° C with an impact on morbidity and mortality rise. In order to document health impacts of recurrent extreme temperatures in this part of the country, a study was carried out combining heatwaves detection, occurrence of climate-sensitive diseases and risk factors for exposure. Methods To do this, a set of climatic (temperatures) and health (morbidity, mortality) data were collected for April, May and June season from 2009 to 2019. These data were complemented by surveys on exposure risk factors of 1246 households. Statistical methods were used to carry out univariate and bivariate analyzes while cartographic techniques allowed visualization of the main climatic and health indicators. Results The results show an increase in temperatures compared to seasonal normal for the 1971-2000 reference period with threshold exceedances of the 90th percentiles (42°C) for the maxima and (27°C) the minima and higher temperatures during the months of May and June. From health perspective, it was noted an increase in cases of consultation on health facilities as well as a rise in declared morbidity by households especially in the departments of Kanel (17.7%), Ranérou (16.1%), Matam (13.7%) and Bakel (13.7%). The heatwaves of May 2013 were also associated with cases of death with a reported mortality (observed by medical staff) of 12.4% unevenly distributed according to the departments with a higher number of deaths in Matam (25, 2%) and in Bakel (23.5%) than in Podor (8.4%) and Kanel (0.8%). The morbidity and mortality distribution according to gender shows that women (57%) were more affected than men (43%). These health risks have been associated with a number of factors including age, access to drinkable water, type of fuel, type of housing and construction materials, existence of fan, an air conditioner, health antecedents, etc. Conclusion The heatwaves recurrence has led to an upsurge in certain diseases sensitive to rising temperatures, which is increasingly a public health issue in the Sahelian zone of Senegal.