The World Health Day this year (7 April 2008) focuses on the need to protect health from the adverse effects of climate change. The theme “protecting health from climate change” puts health at the centre of the global dialogue about climate change. The World Health Organization (WHO) selected this theme for the World Health Day in recognition that climate change is posing ever growing threats to global public health security.
Areas with weak health infrastructure - mostly in developing countries - will be the least able to cope without assistance to prepare and respond. These impacts will be disproportionately greater in vulnerable populations, which include the very young, elderly, medically infirm, poor and isolated populations.
Increasing global temperatures affect levels and seasonal patterns of both man-made and natural air-borne particles, such as plant pollen, which can trigger asthma. About 300 million people suffer from asthma, and 255 000 people died of the disease in 2005. Asthma deaths are expected to increase by almost 20% in the next 10 years if urgent actions to curb climate change and prepare for its consequences are not taken.
The health impacts of climate change will be difficult to reverse in a few years or decades. Yet, many of these possible impacts can be avoided or controlled. There are established steps in health and related sectors to reduce the exposure to and the effect of changing climate. For example, controlling disease vectors, reducing pollution from transport and efficient land use and water management are well-known and tested measures that can help.
However government of
The privatization of water, use of agriculture lands as special economic zone for rapid industrialization, heavy displacement of poor people with ‘development projects’ which put them at grave risk of infectious diseases, are certainly not going to help India in minimizing the harm of the climate change.
Assam Times, Assam, India
The Seoul Times, South Korea
Scoop Independent News, New Zealand
Central Chronicle, Madhya Pradesh, India