Climate Change and Health

08.08.2017 by Sabina Beatrice-Matter    

Climate change affects health of populations, in particular in low- and middle-income settings. On behalf of the Global Programme Climate Change and Environment of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Swiss TPH compiled a policy brief to shed light on the complex interactions between climate variations and health outcomes and propose solutions on how to mitigate impact.

Climate change can impact on human health through vector-transmitted diseases or malnutrition.

Climate variability and change are intimately linked to population health. Apart from direct health impact such as heat stress, climate change also impacts on diseases that are transmitted by vectors such as malaria or results in crop failure and thus malnutrition.

Poor people more affected

Poor people are particularly vulnerable to climate change due to limited resources to cope with climate-related health threats. Climate change hence puts a particular strain on health systems and on people's livelihoods in low- and middle-income settings. Ultimately, the consequences of climate change could therefore hinder global development efforts as stipulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Policy advice to mitigate impact

To propose appropriate policy responses, the Global Programme Climate Change and Environment of SDC mandated Swiss TPH to compile a policy brief on "Climate Change and Health." The policy brief illustrates the complex interactions between climate change and health outcomes, and identifies the environmental and social determinants that influence climate impacts on health.

In particular, the brief recommends developing local capacity and increasing international support in fragile and climate-vulnerable countries in sub-Saharan Africa. "We hope that this analysis helps guide climate and development practitioners in taking appropriate action to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change," said Filippo Lechthaler.

From research to implementation

Swiss TPH combines interdisciplinary research and policy advice linking climate, health and economic sciences to better protect the most vulnerable populations from negative health consequences due to climate change.