To a large extent, public health depends on safe drinking water, sufficient food, secure shelter, and good social conditions. A changing climate is likely to affect all of these conditions. Some of the health effects include:

  • More variable precipitation patterns are likely to compromise the supply of freshwater, increasing risks of water-borne disease.
  • Rising temperatures and variable precipitation are likely to decrease the production of staple foods in many of the poorest regions, increasing risks of malnutrition.
  • Changes in climate are likely to lengthen the transmission seasons of important vector-borne diseases, and to alter their geographic range, potentially bringing them to regions that lack population immunity and/or a strong public health infrastructure. (WHO: 2009)
     

One of the pilot action team of our ACCCA project in Ghana provided a good survey on the issue of climate change and health. After a sudden upsurge of the Guinea worm disease in 2006 – a water-borne painful worm getting under one’s skin- the team decided to conduct a survey on the frequency of this Guinea worm, on the understanding of local communities of this resumption and on ways to adapt and provide solutions to this problem.  After the survey, the objective of the programme was to educate the communities in order for them to grasp the main issues of climate change. Therefore, it was possible to build local capacity to manage climate-related risks, i.e. adapt to drying wells by different means of rainwater harvest and therefore diminishing the risk of transmission of the disease, often occurring in crowded dams serving as public water supply.
 

For more information on climate change and health, click here to see the final report on Guinea worm , other project reports related to health and related documents in our Library.