climate change will collapse healthcare systems


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The climate change will create a health challenge for which countries today they are not prepared. Extreme heat, floods or simply the expansion of tropical diseases into new territories will put the health systems of half the world in check, so countries must take measures to prepare and limit the global increase in temperatures, warns this Thursday the informe «The Lancet Countdown».

The warning is made by 120 academics and doctors after detecting that the indicators that link health and climate change they have worsened compared to previous years. In the last 20 years it has 53.7% increased mortality related to heat in people over 65 years of age, reaching a total of 296,000 deaths in 2018. The climatic conditions necessary for the transmission of diseases such as dengue They have improved and their transmission is 15% easier than in the 1950s. And only in the last five years, scientists have managed to link climate change as the cause of 76 floods, droughts, storms and temperature anomalies.

‘Threats to human health are multiplying and intensifying due to climate change, and unless we change course, our healthcare systems are at risk of being overwhelmed in the future“Says Ian Hamilton, CEO of” The Lancet Countdown. “

According to the report, only half of the surveyed countries (a hundred) have drawn up national health and climate plans, and among them only four have provided them with sufficient funds. Furthermore, less than half the countries have carried out health vulnerability assessments and up to two-thirds of the cities surveyed (545 out of 814) predict that climate change seriously jeopardize your public health infrastructure.

«Our report shows that, as in the case of Covid-19, older people are particularly vulnerable, and those with a range of pre-existing conditions, including asthma and diabetes, are at even greater risk, “says Professor Hugh Montgomery, co-chair of The Lancet Countdown and an intensive care physician.

Other impacts

The group of experts also highlights other impacts that go in the wrong direction. For example, the number of days that people were exposed to a very high or extremely high risk of forest fires. The yield of the main crops has fallen between 18% and 5.6% between 1981 and 2019, also threatening food security. And projecting into the future, between 145 million and 565 million people face potential flooding from rising sea levels.

In Spain, According to the report, there were as many as 3,160 heat-related deaths in 2018, and the annual average of deaths in the past five years is 1,140 higher than the 2000-2004 annual average of 2,190. Furthermore, the country has seen a 46% increase in the suitability of the climate for the transmission of dengue by the Aedes mosquito from the 1950s to 2014-18. And the percentage of the Spanish coastline suitable for vibrio infections has increased from 55.8% in 1982-82 to 59.4% in 2015-19.

«The current effects of climate change will continue to get worse without significant intervention. These tangible, though less visible, impacts on public health have so far led to a delayed and inadequate political response, ”criticizes the report. For this reason, the 120 academics and doctors call on take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to align recovery efforts with the fight against climate change and keep global warming below 2ºC, as established by the Paris Agreement.

“The window of opportunity is narrow, and if the response to Covid-19 is not fully and directly aligned with national climate change strategies, the world will not be able to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement, damaging health and health systems today, and in the future, “concludes the report.

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