Climate Change and Health: Urgent Measures Needed to Mitigate Risks


The intersection of climate change and human health is becoming a pressing global concern, as evidenced by the COP28 climate summit’s recent Health Day in Dubai. The World Health Organization projects an additional 250,000 annual deaths attributable to climate change, with one in four deaths linked to preventable environmental causes. The COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health emphasizes the necessity for a health system response to climate change, urging increased financial support for health-focused climate action.

Impact on Health:

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Climate change manifests its direct effects on health through various channels, ranging from air pollution to extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, storms, heatwaves, and wildfires. The consequences include a surge in preventable deaths, exacerbated by factors like heat-related illnesses, injuries from wildfires, and diseases associated with extreme weather conditions.

Waterborne diseases like cholera become more prevalent in the face of temperature and precipitation extremes. Standing water, a byproduct of floods, amplifies the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue fever. Furthermore, malnutrition intensifies, driven by prolonged droughts and extreme weather events.

Air pollution, primarily stemming from fossil fuel combustion, contributes to over 6.5 million global deaths annually, a figure on the rise. The heightened likelihood of major virus-related events, akin to the COVID-19 pandemic, is also attributed to climate change, especially as deforestation increases human-wildlife interactions.

Climate Change
Women standing on dry soil and fishing gear, Climate Change and water crisis

Vulnerable Populations:

Marginalized communities and the economically disadvantaged bear the brunt of climate-induced health burdens. In regions like Guatemala’s Chiquimula province, extreme weather exacerbates child malnutrition rates, illustrating how vulnerable populations lack resources and infrastructure to cope with climate-related risks. Pregnant women in poorer countries with high maternal mortality rates, such as South Sudan, face increased threats from heatwaves, elevating the risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, or low-weight births.

The Path Forward:

To address these challenges, experts advocate for an expedited transition away from polluting fossil fuels toward renewable energy sources. Simultaneously, programs promoting sustainable farming and the restoration of natural ecosystems are crucial for long-term health benefits.

Practical measures include enhancing healthcare systems’ resilience through data-driven disaster planning, sufficient funding, and well-trained personnel. Awareness campaigns, like Bangladesh’s “Conscious Effort to Repel Mosquito Menace,” play a vital role in educating the public about disease prevention.


As the world grapples with the escalating health risks posed by climate change, urgent action is required. Investing in healthcare access, sustainable practices, and community involvement are pivotal steps toward building resilience and mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change on human health.


One response to “Climate Change and Health: Urgent Measures Needed to Mitigate Risks”

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