The Daily Star: Climate Change is ‘increasingly recognized as a public health priority’ according to WHO (2009) and Lancet (2011). Lancet, mentioned that climate change will have its greatest impact on those who already are the poorest in the world, and it will deepen inequities, and the effects of global warming will shape the future of health among all peoples. Nevertheless this message has failed to penetrate most public discussions on about the climate change. According to the International Panel for Climate Change (2007), an increase in the average global temperature will lead to changes in precipitation, and atmospheric moisture due to the changes in atmospheric circulation, and increases in evaporation, and water vapor. These changes are believed to link to diseases as well.
According to Lancet, firstly, there is a massive gap in information, an astonishing lack of knowledge about how we should respond to the negative health effects of climate change. Secondly, since the effects of climate change will hit the poor hardest, an immense task before us is to address the inadequacies of health systems to protect people in countries at most risk. Thirdly, technologies do have the potential to help us adapt to changes in climate. But these technologies have to be developed out of greater research investments into climate change science, better understanding about how to deliver those technologies in the field and more complete appreciation of the social and cultural dimensions into which those technologies might be implanted. Fourthly, challenge is political the creating the conditions for low carbon living.
Bangladesh is set to be most affected
Bangladesh is one of the top 10 nations mostly vulnerable to climate change, said German watch Global Climate Risk Index (CRI), 2011 report. By the end of the century, part of Bangladesh is set to disappear under the waves as mentioned by US government’s NASA space agency. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that by 2050, Bangladesh would be on course to lose 17 % of its land and 30 % of its food production and as a result poverty will increase. The Healthy Center for Climate Prediction and Research (HCCPR) estimates that sea level in Bangladesh will rise by about 40cm (15 inches) by 2080 .
People in Bangladesh are vulnerable to diseases
ICDDR,B, (2011) forecasts that climate change would also make people in Bangladesh vulnerable to increased prevalence of diseases, such as cholera, dengue, respiratory diseases, and malnutrition due to food scarcity and reduction in food production. Climate change will also lead to poorer nutrition, putting people with perilous immune systems at more risk of dying of HIV.
‘b.Surveillance and primary information
Climate change needs top-down flow of information and communications. The people, in general, and the communities in the rural areas (including farmers, mountain enterprisers) in particular, need to be given the information and knowledge about the impacts of climate change and matters concerning the mitigation of the problem, adaptation of knowledge, and how successful practices can be replicated, so that they develop resilience to combat it and adapt themselves. International cooperation is also essential to face the challenges of global warming. Various development players in Bangladesh need to aid people in communicating successfully.
Journalists have an important role in spreading the right message on climate change issues, among others. A new advocacy and public health movement is needed urgently to bring together governments, international agencies, non-governmental organization (NGOs), communities, and academics from all disciplines to adapt to the effects of climate change on health. Bangladesh government has reportedly started taking measures to dredge major rivers, increase green belts in coastal areas and fortify embankments to cope with the rising sea level. However, health issue has not received the priority it deserves.
The writer Shakeel Ahmed Ibne Mahmood is Member of Bangladesh Environmental Society, (BES).
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on the mountain and climate related issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last two years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>