Health, Disasters and Risk
Climate change effects on health
Title: Climate change and human health: impact and adaptation
Author(s): By R. Sari Kovats, Bettina Menne, Anthony J. McMichael, Carlos Corvalan, Roberto Bertollini
Source: World Health Organization (WHO), 2000
Pages: 48 p.
Abstract: Concern for human health is one of the most compelling reasons to study the effects of global climate change. Health is a focus that will reflect the combined impacts of climate change on the physical environment, ecosystems, the economic environment and society. Long-term changes in world climate may affect many of the requisites of good health – sufficient food, safe and adequate drinking water, and secure dwellings. The current large-scale social and environmental changes mean that we must assign a much higher priority to population health in the policy debate on climate change.
Title: Climate change and human health: risks and responses
Author(s): By A.J. McMichael, D.H. Campbell-Lendrum, C.F. Corvalan, K.L.Ebi, A. Githeki, J.D.Scheraga, A. Woodward, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Source: WHO, 2003
Pages: 322 p.
Abstract: This report describes the context and process of global climate change, its actual or likely impacts on health, and how human societies and their governments should respond, with particular focus on the health sector. It argues that climate change is responsible for 2.4 per cent of all cases of diarrhoea worldwide and for 2 per cent of all cases of malaria, according to the most recent figures available. Moreover, an estimated 150,000 deaths and 5.5 million Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYS) were caused in the year 2000 due to climate change.
Title: Climate change futures: health, ecological and economic dimensions
Author(s): By the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, Swiss Re, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Source: Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, 2005
Pages: 138 p.
Abstract: While no one event is conclusive evidence of climate change, the relentless pace of severe weather — prolonged droughts, intense heat waves, violent windstorms, more wildfires and more frequent “100-year” floods — is indicative of a changing climate. Although the associations among greater weather volatility, natural cycles and climate change are debated, the rise in mega-catastrophes and prolonged widespread heat waves is, at the very least, a harbinger of what we can expect in a changing and unstable climate. This report examines a wide spectrum of physical and biological risks we face from an unstable climate. It also aims to further the development of healthy, safe and economically feasible energy solutions that can help stabilize the global climate system. These solutions should also enhance public health, improve energy security and stimulate economic growth.
Title: Climate variability and change and their health effects in the Caribbean: information for adaptation planning in the health sector, Conference May 21-22, 2002, Workshop May 23-25, 2002, St. Philip, Barbados, West Indies
Author(s): By Joan L. Aron, Carlos F. Corvalán, Harry Philippeaux
Source: World Health Organization (WHO), 2003
Pages: 53 p.
Abstract: Small island states are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate variability and change. As exemplified in the quotations above from keynote speeches, the Barbados Conference and Workshop on Climate Variability and Change and their Health Effects in the Caribbean addressed the seriousness of health-related consequences and the inter-sectoral nature of possible responses. The overall objectives of the conference and workshop were to: inform health scientists, practitioners, and officials of the impacts of climate variability and long-term climate change in the Caribbean region; integrate health-relevant sectors (e.g.,water resources, agriculture and fisheries); introduce strategies in coastal zone management as they relate to sewage disposal and other health issues; foster joint interdisciplinary research projects among local participants, as well as developed/developing nation scientist partnerships; and promote the incorporation of global, regional and national climate information into planning for public health services at the national level.
Title: Extreme weather and climate events and public health responses: report on a WHO meeting, Bratislava, Slovakia, 09–10 February 2004
Author(s): By the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (WHO/EURO), European Environment Agency (EEA)
Source: WHO/EURO, 2004
Pages: 48 p.
Abstract: This expert meeting was organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Environment Agency and hosted by the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic to exchange information and develop recommendations on public health and environmental responses to weather and climate extremes, specifically floods, heat-waves and cold spells. The 54 participants included representatives of 20 countries from the European Region, as well as of the European Commission, European Environment Agency, Red Cross, World Meteorological Organization, World Health Organization and scientists from around the world.
Title: Extreme weather events: the health and economic consequences of the 1997/98 El Niño and La Niña
Author(s): By the Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School
Source: Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School, 1999
Pages: 42 p.
Abstract: Extreme weather events (EWEs) often create conditions conducive to outbreaks of infectious diseases. The upsurge of insect, rodent and water-borne diseases following Hurricane Mitch in Central America in October, 1998 highlights this connection. Heavy rains can produce new breeding sites for insects, drive rodents from burrows and contaminate clean water systems. Conversely, flooding followed by drought can spread fungal spores and spark fires. The 1997/98 El Niño-related extreme weather events spawned "clusters" of disease outbreaks in many regions of the globe. In the Horn of Africa extensive flooding led to large outbreaks of malaria, Rift Valley fever and cholera. In Latin America, extreme weather was associated with outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever and cholera. In Indonesia and surrounding island nations, delayed monsoons - and the compounding effects of local farming practices - led to prolonged fires, widespread respiratory illness, and significant losses of wildlife.
Title: Floods, health and climate change, a strategic review: working paper 63
Author(s): By Roger Few, Mike Ahern, Franziska Matthies, Sari Kovats
Source: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, 2004
Pages: 138 p.
Abstract: The objectives of this report are: to present findings from a wide-ranging review of global literature on health impacts, adaptation processes and policies relating to flood risk; to make a critical assessment of the existing knowledge base and identify key opportunities and challenges for intervention and research; to assess the implications of climate change and future flood risk for health impacts, adaptation processes and policies. Following preliminary discussion of global flood risk issues (chapter 2), the main sections of the report comprise an epidemiological review of the evidence base for health outcomes of flooding (chapter 3) and a review of literature analysing mechanisms of response to health risks from floods (chapter 4). Though the scope of the report is global, the material discussed in these sections is fairly narrow in thematic focus: the intention has been to maximise the added value of the work by concentrating as closely as possible on issues connected with health and flooding. The final section (chapter 5) then discusses the key findings in the wider contexts of social differentiation, development, hazard management, climate change and adaptation.
Title: Health protection from climate change: briefing at the 60th World Health Assembly, Monday 21st May 2007
Author(s): By Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Joy Muller
Source: World Health Organization (WHO), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), 2007
Pages: 3 p.
Abstract: The latest evidence shows that climate change is already impacting on health, through heatwaves and changing distributions of vector-borne diseases; and will continue to increase a wide range of risks, from flooding, to diarrhoea to malnutrition. Although all populations are at risk from the health effects of climate change, some are particularly vulnerable, such as those in small island states, in highland regions, and in rapidly urbanizing populations. WHO put forward their strategic approach to this issue. This emphasizes the importance of strong health systems as the front-line defense from the impacts of climate change, and identifies key preventive public health interventions that will improve health now as well as reducing climate vulnerability in the future. It also calls upon individuals, communities and member states to make the behaviour and policy changes, such as cleaner energy and more sustainable transport systems, that will bring immediate health benefits, as well as reducing our impact on the global climate.
Title: Methods of assessing human health vulnerability and public health adaptation to climate change: health and global environmental change series no. 1
Author(s): By the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (WHO/EURO), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Health Canada
Source: WHO/EURO, 2003
Pages: 111 p.
Abstract: This publication provides practical information to governments, health agencies and environmental and meteorological institutions in both industrialized and developing countries on how to assess vulnerability and adaptation to climate variability and change at the regional, national and local levels. Flexible methods and tools are described to achieve better understanding of the risk of climate change for current and future generations and to enable policy-makers to plan for measures, policies and strategies to cope with climate change. The methods will be further developed and adapted in pilot testing in countries.
Title: Using climate to predict infectious disease epidemics
Author(s): By Katrin Kuhn, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Andy Haines, Jonathan Cox
Source: World Health Organization (WHO), 2005
Pages: 54 p.
Abstract: This document was written to provide guidance for the Department of Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response (CSR), the Department of Protection of the Human Environment (PHE) and the Roll Back Malaria Department (RBM) on the potential of early warning systems (EWS) based on climate variations to enhance global surveillance and response to epidemic-prone diseases.This document evaluates the potential of climate-based disease early warning as a means of improving preparedness for, and response to, epidemics. On the basis of the history of the development of EWS to date, the authors develop a conceptual framework for constructing and evaluating climate-based EWS. They identify the climate-sensitive diseases of major public health importance and review the current state of the art in climate-based modelling of these diseases, as well as future requirements and recommendations. This document lays the foundation for future development of EWS that capitalize on new knowledge about interactions between climate and infectious diseases, as well as improved capabilities for assessing vulnerability, monitoring the environment and climate and producing seasonal climate forecasts. It reviews the current state of development of EWS for a number of key infectious diseases.
Title: Weather, Climate, Water and Sustainable Development
Author(s): By the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Source: WMO, 2004
Pages: 28 p.
Abstract: Weather, climate and water influence virtually all human activities, so almost every sector of the economy-health, energy, transport, food security, management of water, tourism-needs meteorological and hydrological services. This booklet shows how the application of weather-, climate- and water-related information can contribute to the socio-economic development of nations-especially those of the developing world-and the well-being of their populations.