Thematic Area

Climate Change and Health

Climate change has far-reaching impacts on human health and well-being. Health planning must integrate climate change (and vice versa) to ensure adaptation measures are in place for both preparation and response to these clear and present risks. Changing temperature and rainfall patterns impact crop yields, food security, water security, and nutrition, and increase the incidence of water and vector borne disease. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme events can cause not only injury and death, but also increases the risk of water-borne diseases (diarrheal disease, Hepatitis A and E, bacterial diseases such as cholera), diseases associated with crowding (measles, meningitis, acute respiratory infections), vector-borne diseases (malaria, dengue, Japanese Encephalitis), and psychological and emotional distress related to traumatic events, natural disasters or displacement. Health impacts from climate change are exacerbated in countries where health systems already struggle to manage existing health risks, and capacity to adapt to additional climate change-related health risks is limited. At particular risk are the most vulnerable: children, elderly and low-income communities.