Kolkata, Dec 4 : Safeguarding human health from climate change impact is more urgent than ever, yet most countries are not acting fully on their own plans to achieve this, according to the first global snapshot of progress on climate change and health.
The new report draws on data from 101 countries surveyed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and reported in the 2018 WHO Health and Climate Change Survey Report. Countries are increasingly prioritising climate change and health, with half of the countries surveyed having developed a national health and climate change strategy or plan.
Worryingly, only about 38 per cent have finances in place to even partially implement their national strategy of plan, and fewer than 10 per cent channelling resources to implement it completely.
“Climate change is not only racking up a bill for future generations to pay, it’s a price that people are paying for now with their health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
“It is a moral imperative that countries have the resources they need to act against climate change and safeguard health now and in the future,” he said. Forty-eight percent of countries have conducted an assessment of the climate risks to public health. The most common climate sensitive health risks were identified by countries as heat stress, injury or death from extreme weather events, food, water and vector-borne diseases (such as cholera, dengue or malaria).
However, about 60 percent of these countries report that the assessment findings have had little or no influence on the allocation of human and financial resources to meet their adaptation priorities for protecting health. Mainstreaming health in national and international climate processes could help access the necessary funds. (UNI)