A boy leads a class on malaria, pointing a ruler towards a diagram of an Anopheles mosquito.

Health

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health such as clean air, water, food, shelter, and security. Rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, extreme weather, and sea level rise can result in human exposure to extreme heat, disease, reduced food and water quality, poor air quality, and environmental degradation. These climate risks can increase human susceptibility to respiratory and cardiovascular disease; food, water and vector-borne diseases; threats to mental health and increased mortality among vulnerable populations. Other sector-related consequences include damage to water and sanitation infrastructure.

Promoting climate risk management and preparedness help people, communities, governments, and institutions become more resilient to changes in climate through preparedness and response assistance. Adaptive strategies, such as setting up extreme weather, early warning systems and monitoring and forecasting disease outbreaks, can improve preparedness. Integrating climate change into national and local health sector planning can develop community resilience to climate change and decrease the severity of health impacts. Strategies and policies aimed to reduce carbon pollution and mitigate climate change can independently influence human health, for example, reducing CO2 emissions can decrease exposure to air pollutants like sulfur dioxide.

Features

Shifting Burdens: Malaria Risks in a Hotter Africa

Climate variability and change present both immediate and future risks to human health. This report by the Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessment (ATLAS) project analyzes the shift in malaria transmission patterns based on projected temperature rise in the short, medium, and longer term (2030s, 2050s, 2080s).

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Students from St. Scholastica Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya studied the links between weather patterns and malaria occurrences using mosquito habitat mapping within the Lake Victoria region in Kenya.
As COVID-19 has made us all painfully aware, there can be serious global consequences when disease-causing pathogens make the leap to humans from other animals.