Monday 7th April is World Health Day and this year the theme is “protecting health from climate change”. This is an opportunity for the WHO to draw attention to the new threat that global warming, as it has become known, poses to public health. As always, it is the poorest populations that will pay the heaviest toll.
Natural disasters, the “migration” of diseases such as chikungunya fever, malaria and dengue fever northwards to countries that had previously been free of them, increased mortality linked to food and water pollution, etc … the picture that awaits us in a few years’ time is a grim one. Not to mention the major population movements that will result from rising sea levels and drought.
Which is why the WHO wants to focus attention on these issues today, while also seeking to reassure us. “Fortunately, many of these risks can be avoided thanks to existing health programmes and action”, the WHO tells us.
Vaccinations, water supplies, the setting up of sanitation systems … effective action to combat the vectors of disease as well as anticipating natural disasters play an important role. But it’s an urgent matter. “The quicker we react, the more substantial will be the results and the lower the costs”, warns the WHO.