Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Protecting health from climate change

Merinews (India): Climate change is a significant and fastest emerging threat to public health. There is growing evidence that global climate changes will affect the health and well being of human beings. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its report has reconfirmed that humans are getting negatively affected with the changes in global climate. Climate variability and change has and will cause further death and disease through natural disasters, such as heat waves, floods and droughts. In addition to these disasters, many diseases are highly sensitive to changing temperatures and precipitation. These include common vector borne diseases like malaria and dengue. It also adds up to the global burden of disease.

Probably seeing this matter of urgency World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that it will have – ‘Protecting Health from Climate Change’ as the theme for the World Health Day in 2008 . World Health Day takes place on 7 April annually and its purpose is to raise awareness of key global public health challenges. World Health Day 2008 will mark the 60th anniversary of WHO.

It is a step forward to advocate and push for allocating more resources for combating climate this. As per WHO media release, health and well being of populations must become the defining measure of the impact of climate change and our efforts to address it effectively. Climate change is gradually becoming a central part of planning future projects and top on the international agenda and it is becoming clearer that sustainable development leads to healthy environments and enhanced public health.

There is an immediate need is to strengthen surveillance and control of infectious diseases, safer use of diminishing water supplies, and take action on health emergencies. But more focus as always should be on prevention as the old saying goes ‘Prevention is better than cure’.

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