Friday, 11 May 2012

Climate Change And Health Adaptation Podcast

(To listen online, visit http://daraint.org/2012/05/11/3513/podcast-climate-change-health-adaptations/)

The Adaptation Performance Review of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010 assesses over 50 key measures that can be taken to reduce dangers and harm to communities and the planet across the four main impact areas of the Report. Highly cost-effective actions exist for minimizing nearly every type of impact assessed in the Climate Vulnerability Monitor.


There are a variety of measures that can be taken to prevent deaths due to climate change, and many of them are very affordable. Since outbreaks of disease related to climate change are concentrated within certain regions, age groups, and socioeconomic groups, good targeting of these diseases is feasible. Lifesaving measures to address these health problems are some of the most well-documented and effective measures we have in fighting the negative effects of climate change.

Many adaptation measures for Health concerns are highly or very highly effective. Two especially effective adaptation actions are School health and nutrition programs and basic sanitation facilities.

School health and nutrition programmes rate highly on costeffectiveness, co-benefits, feasibility, and scalability. This programme is among the least expensive of all health measures assessed here. Improving child health can also lead to better educational results. Such programmes can roll out quickly using existing educational networks and have an especially high impact on the poorest and most undernourished children.

Evidence shows that the number of children reaching school age (defined as 5 to 14 years of age) is increasing due to such child survival programs. In Kenya, treatment of Helminth infections reduced absenteeism by one-fourth, with the youngest children (who typically suffer the most ill health) showing the largest gains. The evidence base for school health and nutrition programmes is high -- we have several well-documented examples from various geographical regions. However, not all types of intervention are relevant to all situations or locations, so it is essential to assess the needs of a community prior to each implementation.

Basic sanitation facilities programmes rate highly on costeffectiveness, co-benefits, and scalability. At a construction cost of $60 per capita for basic sanitation facilities and a lifetime of 5+ years for a latrine, this programme remains among the least expensive of the health measures assessed here. Lower-cost models are possible in areas that lack infrastructure or where more complex sanitation systems are not feasible, making such a programme highly cost-effective even where construction costs are high.

The programme is beneficial to all groups in a community lacking sanitation and reduces the spread of diarrhea while also producing socio-economic and cultural benefits. However, it is unclear whether we can attribute the positive effects to the installation of latrines alone, since benefits have only been measured in combination with improved hand-washing habits. Benefits are highest where a clean water supply is also available.

The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the World Bank have already developed technical specifications and guidelines for low-cost sanitation projects, and many well-documented case examples exist.

Other health adaptation measures analyzed in 2010 included breastfeeding, oral rehydration therapy and zinc supplementation, immunization programmes, improved water supply infrastructure, insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, and excessive heat event notification and response programmes. To learn more about them and their effectiveness, read the Health Impact section in the Adaptations Performance Review within the Climate Vulnerability Monitor.

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