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Climate Change and Human Health
Type: Information campaign
Geographical coverage: International
Implementing Entity: UNO, Government, Local Administration
Language: English
Cost: unspecified
21st century is the "century of climate change and global warming" and world community is facing the same. Human activities are raising the level of Carbon Di-Oxide by about 2 parts per million a year, in the atmosphere, by burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, and other activities. Due to these reasons, on May 9, 2013, world achieved a "sad milestone" of 400 ppm of Carbon Di-Oxide. Climate change will pose main challenges for food, health, water, air, population and economic development. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that climate change is now contributing to 140,000 deaths a year internationally. According to World Bank report, ”Diagnostic Assessment of Select Environmental Challenges in India”, about 23 per cent of child mortality in India is linked to environmental degradation. According to Israel Journal of Health Policy Research, 17th June 2013 edition, globally, the number of reported weather-related natural disasters has more than tripled since the 1960s.

Climate change will directly lead to net negative health impacts. According to WHO, climate variability have a direct influence on the epidemiology of vector-borne diseases. By 2100 it is estimated that average global temperatures will have risen by 1.0–3.5 °C and will increase the spread of many vector-borne diseases in new areas. Amongst these are fungal transmitted Cryptococcus gattii infection, algal transmitted Ciguatera fish poisoning, tick vector transmitted Lyme disease and mosquito vector transmitted West Nile Virus encephalitis, Chikungunya, Rift Valley Fever and Dengue fever. Other equally important diseases, which will spread and prevalent due to climate change, include respiratory allergies due to increased human exposure to pollen, molds, air pollution and dust, cancer risk due to increased duration and intensity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and heat-related illness and deaths.

According to United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, climate change may exacerbate existing cardiovascular disease by increasing heat stress and changing the distribution of zoonotic vectors that cause infectious diseases linked with cardiovascular disease.

The solution to cope with such adverse situation is, to adopt “Environment Friendly Lifestyle”. If human society could transform from a carbon-intensive economy to a green economy, human health opportunities would abound. WHO is now strongly advocating a holistic “Health in All Policies” approach. Human health has been relatively sidelined in the UN Framework Conventions, but now needs to be better interwoven into the process of defining the next set of global development goals. The outcome document from the Rio+20 Summit, “The Future We Want”, recognizes that health is both a precondition for, and an outcome of, sustainable development.

Prabhat Misra
Assistant Director- National Savings
District- Etawah, Province- Uttar Pradesh
Founder of Red Tape Movement