National Level Health Vulnerability Assessment and develop a Framework for Monitoring and Evaluation of the National Action Plan for Climate Change and Human Health (NAPCCHH)
Climate change has become a major concern in India, with the country experiencing several adverse effects that have impacted public health in various ways. Some of the key health challenges related to climate change in India include vector-borne diseases (VBDs), heat stress, water-borne diseases (WBDs), extreme weather events, and air pollution-related diseases. Such climate change induced diseases are termed as climate sensitive diseases (CSDs).
Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) such as malaria, dengue, and chikungunya are one of most common CSDs prevalent in several districts of India and are highly influenced by climate change. Changes intemperatures, humidity and rainfall patterns have led to an increase in the breeding of mosquitoes, which transmit these diseases. In addition, the spread of these diseases is exacerbated by factors such as rapid urbanization, diminishing forest cover, population growth, and poor sanitation. The impact of VBDs in India is significant, with millions of people affected each year, leading to substantial morbidity and mortality.
Heat stress is another CSDs posing significant health challenge in India.. High temperatures and humidity levels, combined with increasing urbanization and air pollution, make many parts of the country extremely vulnerable to heat stress. This can lead to a range of health problems, including dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The elderly, children, and outdoor workers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat stress.
Water-borne diseases (WBDs) are also a major public health concern in India, with climate change exacerbating the problem. Heavy rainfall events and flooding can lead to the contamination of water sources, which can cause the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis A. The impact of these diseases is significant, with millions of people affected each year, leading to significant morbidity and mortality.
Extreme weather events such as floods, cyclones, and droughts are also becoming more frequent in India due to climate change. These events can cause widespread damage to infrastructure, disrupt essential services such as healthcare, and displace populations, leading to further health risks. In addition, extreme weather events can exacerbate existing health challenges, such as WBDs and VBDs.
Air pollution-related diseases are a significant public health challenge in India, with climate change exacerbating the problem. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns can lead to the formation of smog and other pollutants, which can cause a range of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with most air pollution-related diseases. The impact of air pollution-related diseases is significant, with millions of people affected each year, leading to significant morbidity and mortality.
From the discussion, it is clear that health challenges induced by climate change are a significant threat. Addressing these health challenges will require a coordinated effort from governments, healthcare providers, and communities, with a focus on prevention and adaptation measures that can mitigate the impact of climate change on public health.