WHO links climate change and disease increase

Local IKiribati women. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Local IKiribati women. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirms there is a clear correlation between climate change and increases in diseases in the Pacific. For the Pacific, WHO identified malaria, dengue fever, diarrhea, typhoid and leptospirosis are among the important climate-sensitive diseases, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) reports.

Dr Rokho Kim, WHO’s Environmental Health Specialist based in Fiji said evidence suggests that certain weather conditions are related to an increase in certain diseases.

“We have found that after a heavy drought in a country, there is an increase in cases of diarrhea. In a situation like that, we advice the Ministry of Health to prepare for possible increases in diarrhea cases. It is important to strengthen notifiable diseases surveillance programme which includes training of doctors to report to the government and respond quickly and timely to the situation.

“This early warning system is very effective. We are working with governments to establish reliable good surveillance programme and well trained doctors to diagnose climate-sensitive diseases at the early stage.

WHO estimates that 150,000 people die from climate related diseases every year.

Read the full story on Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme

Read more about the potential health effects of climate change
Ciguatera poisoning
Diarrhoeal disease
Dengue fever

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