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Climate Change and Health

Chapters 3 › Unit 3: Climate Change policy View instructions Hide instructions

Climate Change policy

According to you, which health impact due to climate change should be prioritized on the United Nations agenda?

Health Impacts of Climate Change Prioritisation

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This question can be answered by considering the health impact, the context and the population.

Health Impacts: Are also known as health effects and refer to malnutrition, NCDs, infectious diseases and disasters. It would be logical to suggest that the health issue with the greatest negative impact on population health indicators should be prioritised. There is evidence that this is malnutrition.

Another view would be that prioritisation is not best addressed through prioritising specific diseases (i.e - Malaria, or Cholera?) but rather by strengthening health systems generally. The strategy of targeting specific 'climate-sensitive' diseases has limitations just as addressing the patient, one biomedical system at a time has limitations. A horizontal rather than a vertical approach is often the most effective use of resources and health system strengthening is a 'zero regrets' strategy. It builds resilience against malaria and disasters for example.

In addition to consideration of the health impact, we must consider where we can have the most positive impact given current knowledge, evidence of intervention effectiveness and available and potential resources.

in prioritising we also need to consider the population and context. Populations most vulnerable to climate change-related health impacts should be prioritised such as those in coastal, equatorial and developing regions or conflict or post-conflict settings.

Finally, each individual setting needs it's own vulnerability and adaptation assessment and prioritisation can be conducted with community involvement, based on the needs and capabilities of each unique community.

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