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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 138-139

Recommending global public health strategies to counter the impact of climate change on health


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication20-Apr-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4958.204821

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Recommending global public health strategies to counter the impact of climate change on health. J Med Soc 2017;31:138-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Recommending global public health strategies to counter the impact of climate change on health. J Med Soc [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Aug 18];31:138-9. Available from: http://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2017/31/2/138/204821

Dear Editor,

Over the decades, the ongoing climate change has resulted in a remarkable impact on variable health determinants.[1] In fact, it has been anticipated that if the climate continues to deteriorate at the same rate, between the period of 2030 and 2050, an additional 0.25 million deaths each year will be associated with climate change-related events.[2] From the financial perspective, an extra expenditure of close to US$ 4 billion/year in the health sector alone has been expected to occur by the year 2030.[2]

Owing to the gradual, yet persistent rise in the average global temperature, crucial changes in terms of rise in sea level, mortalities from exposure to very high temperature or exacerbation of cardiovascular or pulmonary disorders, rise in incidence of natural disasters, variability in distribution of rainfall (high rainfall areas – flood/drowning/physical injuries/property damage, whereas low rainfall areas – drought/famines or diarrheal diseases due to poor water supply and sanitation), lower levels of food production, and a significant rise in the incidence of malaria or schistosomiasis due to the lengthening of the transmission season. [1,3-5] These adverse climate changes have influenced the lives of everyone; nevertheless, some of the population groups (namely children, people living in a hilly or coastal region) are the worst affected. In fact, the biggest challenge is for the developing nations, which are in no state to respond to climate-related consequences because of existing weaknesses in the healthcare delivery system.[2],[5]

Acknowledging the impact of climate on multiple dimensions of health and environment, it is high time that stakeholders from all the nations sit together and plan and implement strict measures to address the grass root causes (reduction in emission of greenhouse gases from various sources).[1],[2] Although many measures have been proposed and even implemented, sustainability of the results rest on four main pillars, namely creating awareness among the general community as well as the other stakeholders regarding climate risks to health through different modes of mass/interpersonal communication; strengthening of the healthcare delivery system so that the capacity to prepare, identify, monitor, and respond to climatic changes can be enhanced; fostering linkages with different national and international agencies to enhance the understanding of the health benefits attributed to low carbon emission and ensure that health is given due priority in climate change forums; and by incorporating findings of research in the existing strategies of climate change and health.[2],[4],[5] At the same time, the role of other measures like cleaner energy systems, universal implementation of heat warning system, and promotion of safer modes of public transportation, can never be undermined.[1],[2],[6]

To conclude, deterioration in the climate over the years has emerged as one of the biggest public health challenges which the world is facing currently. Even though policymakers have shown a positive intent toward a reduction in climate change-related events; nevertheless, results have not been as anticipated. This further calls for intensification of efforts and concerted action to minimize the loss of lives and property.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Lineman M, Do Y, Kim JY, Joo GJ. Talking about climate change and global warming. PLoS One 2015;10:e0138996.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Climate Change and Health – Fact Sheet No. 266; 2015. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/. [Last accessed on 2016 Jan 13].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Solow AR. Climate change. Extreme weather, made by us? Science 2015;349:1444-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Khader YS, Abdelrahman M, Abdo N, Al-Sharif M, Elbetieha A, Bakir H, et al. Climate change and health in the Eastern Mediterranean countries: A systematic review. Rev Environ Health 2015;30:163-81.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Richmond R. Putting climate change on the agenda. Aust Vet J 2015;93:N20.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
World Health Organization. Heatwaves and Health: Guidance on Warning-System Development. Geneva: WHO Press; 2015. p. 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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