Climate Change vs Heath

How is climate change impacting our health?

Watch our medical experts Dr Mark Parrish and Dr Anthony Renshaw give their stance on the impacts climate change is having on public health and what travellers and organisations can do to managing this evolving risk.

Climate change clip

Health communities are now realising that the climate crisis is equally a health crisis so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) have named climate change and health as their top priority for the next ten years. According to their latest projections, WHO estimates that the direct damage costs to health will be USD 2-4 billion per year by 20301.

How is climate change impacting health?

We can categorise this crisis by three major events; air pollution, natural disasters and infections and illnesses.

Due to an increase of CO2 emissions, from extractions and burning of fossil fuels, we are seeing more health impacts from air pollution than ever before. Approximately seven million premature deaths happen a year from air pollution2 – drastically impacting the health of whole countries.

Natural disasters such as flooding, extreme weather and rising temperatures are on the rise which if not actioned, can lead to an extreme public health issue. 

Infections and illnesses are becoming more prevalent in areas they have not been in the past. Mosquitoes are moving away from the equator and moving to places where we previously haven’t seen mosquito-borne illnesses. For example, the mosquitoes that breed Dengue fever are being found in US cities like Florida.  By 2080, some of the diseases we thought are tropical illnesses will become the norm.

Even simpler issues such as water borne, and food borne diseases are also on the rise due to the increase of temperatures. Bacteria is more likely to grow and cause an increase in salmonella for example.

What can travellers do to be more aware of these health-related risks?

Be aware that these health issues, illnesses or diseases are appearing in location they may not have in the past. It is therefore critical to review the risks of the location you’re visiting with a real-time, vetted information. Pre-trip advice and awareness is the key to understanding the current health risks and how best to mitigate from those risks they could be exposed to.

Organisations also have a part to play in this changing landscape of disease control. It is a community issue that they have a role and responsibility to be part of.

What recommendations would you give to organisations to manage this issue?

  • Access to up to date information on the latest healthcare information
  • Provide awareness training on how to proactively recognise and respond to an incident.
  • Partner with a global healthcare provider that can support in your organisational plans and procedures. 

For more information on how our medical experts can assist in managing this crisis, please contact us.