1. Disasters in today's world

  • Share

1 elmundodehoy 02

An example of an event related to climate change ins extreme cold and wam temperatures in Europe, which have led to higher mortality than normally seen in this type of seasonal event.

An article on the impact of extreme temperatures on public health analyzes the principal impacts of extreme temperature changes.

Another article entitled Health Implications of Global Warming: Heat’s Deadly Effects examines recent scientific evidence of global warming’s impact on health. Periodically, there are also cold and heat waves in Latin America and the Caribbean, but regional data on these do not exist.

Other probable effects of climate change that have health impacts are food insecurity caused by increased temperatures and shortage of water for food handling, which facilitate conditions for the transmission of diseases. The slides available here show the relationship between temperature variations and the presence of malaria in different parts of the world. This series of slides was prepared by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, a PAHO/WHO collaborating center that is part of the early warning system for malaria and climate-sensitive diseases.

At the 60th session of the Regional Committee at the 48th Directing Council of PAHO, the Roundtable on Climate Change and its Impact on Public Health: A Regional Perspective laid the foundation for a regional action plan under PAHO auspices to address climate change and health in the Americas.

There are also official initiatives of note, such as the Earthwatch mechanism created by the United Nations Environment Program to coordinate, harmonize, and catalyze the environmental observation activities of all the system’s agencies in order to produce an integrated assessment. Abundant literature on climate change is available on the website of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 

For whatever reason, disasters seem to be on the increase. Managing them is a subject that should be part of the scope of work of all health professionals. It is difficult to find a health professional who has not had to participate in an emergency or disaster operation, whether small or large. Therefore, it is very important that they are familiar with the concepts and the consequences that may arise. Disaster professionals must support risk reduction while at the same time contribute to better response on a daily basis. With this in mind, a glossary has been included below with the terms most used in this module.