"Facing the challenge of climate change in health issues", Agora L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

"Facing the challenge of climate change in health issues", Agora L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science

  1. 1. WOMEN IN SCIENCE FORUM L’ORÉAL-UNESCO AWARDS FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS SCIENCE FOR A BETTERFUTURE ABOUT AGORA Facing the challenge of climate change in health issues 18/11/2010 by Rahajeng Tunjungputri Same Author (1) 10 people likeI like Send Print During my training as a medical student with overnight shifts in the wards of a government hospital,  new patients admitted with severe leptospirosis or dengue fever means that there may be another  long night without sleep. Infectious diseases wards are often overcrowded and a new patient can be  admitted only when a patient is discharged. As medical students with clinical responsibilities at the  hospital, we rarely have the chance to think beyond the hospital walls: about why the diseases these  patients come in with had happened in the first place. Climate change as a major cause of infectious diseases in Indonesia In Indonesia, infectious diseases are still the main health problem. Diarrhoeal diseases, dengue  haemorrhagic fever, typhoid fever, malaria, tuberculosis and respiratory infections are the most  common infectious diseases (World Health Organization, 2010). Most of these are vector-borne and water-borne diseases which have been known to be influenced by climate change. The  IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has concluded that “climate change is projected to increase threat to human health, particularly in lower income populations, predominantly within  tropical/subtropical countries.” Climate change has affected the incidence and pattern of infectious  diseases through environmental change, increased flooding, drought, changes in weather patterns  and increasing incidence of natural disasters (IPCC, 2001). Temperature affects the range of microbes and vectors, and weather affects the timing and intensity  of disease outbreaks. Mosquitoes, known vectors for many diseases, are very sensitive to  temperature change. Environmental warming boosts their rates of reproduction and the number of  blood meals they take, prolongs their breeding season, and shortens the maturation period for the  microbes they carry. Outbreaks of dengue fever and leptospirosis which normally occur in the rainy  season now have a prolonged period of incidence throughout the year. Increasing floods are frequently followed by disease clusters: the rain can drive rodents from burrows, provide new  mosquito-breeding sites and fungus growth in houses, and release pathogens, nutrients, and  chemicals into waterways (New England Journal of Medicine, 2010). A vulnerable population The vulnerability of a population to the impact of climate change on health depends on factors such  as population density, income level and poverty, food availability and distribution, level of economic  development, local environmental conditions, pre-existing health status, and the quality and availability of public health care. Indonesia consists of more than 17,000 islands, about 6,000 of which are  inhabited, and a population of more than 218 million. Geographical, social, cultural, and developmental  diversity is inevitable. Poverty is still significant, with 27% of the population living below the national  poverty line (WHO, 2010). With poverty and high population density in urban areas, natural or man- made disasters such as flooding can affect a large portion of the population. Urban crowding has led  to water contamination that may promote various pathogens, in addition to water-collecting trash that
  2. 2. may act as mosquito-breeding sites. With such difficult and diverse environments within the country,  some areas still lag behind in development and some populations are more vulnerable than others. The necessity for a scientific, integrated approach to solve the problems  Research must not just be a scientific process but must have applications to protect the  vulnerable population through effective policy-making and sustainable programmes.  The challenge is  to understand that health and climate change is a complex matter that requires an integrated approach. Beyond the public health efforts and health-care service, a multitude of information must be involved in  an integrated manner to improve health: human demography and behaviour, land use and environment,  food and agriculture, travel and trade, economics, governance, and climate. Governments must allow  the participation of people in the planning, decision making and executing the programmes to evoke a  sense of ownership and ensure sustainability as well as accountability. Within an integrated  framework, the different sectors at all levels must work together simultaneously to improve not just  health, but also education, empowerment and economic development of people. Addressing health issues demands thinking beyond the scope of medical services alone. These  perspectives are unfortunately still underestimated. Only a broad knowledge base that extends from  epidemiology to anthropology, politics, economics, and climatology will produce adequate responses to prevent climate change from causing further adverse health impact. This integrated approach must be  applied involving contributions of various levels and sectors within governments, the international community, NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), private sectors, civil society, communities and individuals to take action. Once again, research then must be put into use to  better protect the vulnerable population, and to implement the most effective policies. By Rahajeng N. Tunjungputri REFERENCES Haryanto, 2009. Climate Change and Public Health in Indonesia Impacts and Adaptation. [Online] Available at:  http://www.preventionweb.net/files/12431_haryanto1.pdf [Accessed 25 July 2010] New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), 2010.  Global Climate Change and Infectious Diseases. [Online] Available at:  http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp0912931 [Accessed 25 July 2010] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2001. International consensus on the science of climate and health: the IPCC Third Assessment Report.  [Online] Available  at: http://www.who.int/entity/globalchange/environment/en/chapter3.pdf [Accessed 20 July 2010] WHO, 2010. Indonesia. [Online] Available at: http://www.who.int/countries/idn/en/ [Accessed 20 July 2010] Rahajeng N. Tunjungputri is a staff at the Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine Diponegoro University, Semarang – Indonesia climate Climate change dengue fever female scientist hospital Indonesia infectious diseases integrated approach Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC leptospirosis microbes Mosquitoes NEJM New England Journal of Medicine NGO Non- Governmental Organization public health Rahajeng Tunjungputri Science scientific WHO women Women's Forum World Health Organization Tags : 10 people likeI like Send Print You want to post an article? Click here to join the community Trackbacks No trackbacks Comments No comments Add a comment Name or Pseudo E-mail (will not be published) (required) Activity (optional)
  3. 3. Subscribe to Agora Newsletter Name First Name E-Mail OK Agora writers Most popular Archives by period Comments gfedc Notify me of followup comments via e-mail Send The HTML code in the comment will appear as text, the internet addresses will be automatically converted. Any entry being insulting, rude, racist or defamatory will be deleted. Events 04/03/2010 The 12th "FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE WEEK" starts now! View all Twitter Interview The 2010 International Fellows : the faces of tomorrow's Science "If when you think of a scientist, you picture a man… Glass ceiling: do you “see” it? Welcome to our Brainstorming! Research Search within sections
  4. 4. by author Tags 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Africa AIDS Arab States Asia-Pacific biodiversity bioethics biotechnology career children developing countries DNA educationenergy ethics Europe fellows female scientist gender girls HIV hunger inequality Latin America laureatelife sciences material sciences molecular biology motherhood North America physics plants progress public policy research Science sustainable developement UNESCO women Contact us Editorial Policy Moderation Charter Powered by Wordpress Join Agora Administration