- Climate change affects the fundamental requirements for health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
- The current and emerging climate change-related health risks in Asia and the Pacific include heat stress and water- and food-borne diseases (e.g., cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases) associated with extreme weather events (e.g., heat waves, storms, floods and flash floods and droughts); vectorborne diseases (e.g., dengue and malaria); respiratory diseases due to air pollution; aeroallegens, food and water security issues; malnutrition; and psychological concerns from displacemence.
- It is considered likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent. And tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will probably become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and heavier precipitation, causing loss of life and an increase in injuries.
- Areas with weak health infrastructure – mostly in developing countries – will be the least able to cope without assistance to help them prepare and respond.
- As a counter-measure, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases through better transport, food and energy use can result in an improved situation and better health.
- Compared with 1990, average temperatures in Viet Nam are expected to increase by nearly 2°C in the southern regions and up to 2.8°C in the north by 2100, according to a medium-emissions scenario (Source: 4th Assessment of International Pannel on Climate Change 2007) However, in a high-emissions scenario, this could be as much as 3.6°C in the north central coastal region.
- Higher temperatures are expected to increase the spread of vectors of human diseases such as dengue and malaria.
- Temperature increase and changes in rainfall and drought patterns may enhance the spread of crop pests and diseases, and affect ecosystems and farming seasons.
- Viet Nam is one of the most at-risk countries for sea level rise and saline water intrusion. The average rise in the global sea level is expected to be 59cm by 2100, according to the highest greenhouse gas emission scenario used in the fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007.
- However, according to a medium global greenhouse gas emission scenario, the sea level rise along the Viet Namese coast would be on average of 75cm by 2100.
- The Viet Namese Government recognizes climate change as a major challenge. The National Target Programme to Respond to Climate Change (NTP-RCC) was approved in December 2008. It provides the basis for planning in all sectors and localities until 2015, supports research and awareness raising, and helps with dination. The NTP-RCC also helps Viet Nam formulate an overall climate change strategy, with long-term goals on adaptation as well as greenhouse gas (GHGs) emission mitigation.
- In December 5, 2011, the Government issued Decision No 2139/QD-TTg on the National Climate Change Strategy. Based on the NTP-RCC and this strategy, all related ministries have already taken part in a programme to develop their own action plan.
- The Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from WHO, has developed its national action plan for response to climate change in the health sector.
- There is a growing, but still limited, political commitment to integrate health considerations into efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change at national and international levels.
- There is an urgent need to incorporate health concerns into the decisions and actions of other sectors to ensure their activities also enhance health.
- Greater efforts are needed to ensure the general public is fully informed about climate change and its impact on health.
- The availability of relevant hydro-meteorological, socio-economic and health data is limited and available data are often inconsistent and seldom shared in an open and transparent manner.
- In addition, there is insufficient capacity for assessment, research and communication on climate-sensitive health risks, as well as insufficient capacity to design and implement mitigation and adaptation programmes.
- WHO provided support to the Health Environmental Management Administration (HEMA) in the Ministry of Health (MoH) to carry out mapping of vulnerable areas to assess the health impact of climage change and set up a database for climate change in the health sector.
- The database and maps of vulnerable areas and communities are important tools for decision makers, inverstors, developers and researchers to understand the overall picture and to devise ways to mitigate the health impact of climate change.
- HEMA has also developed a National Action Plan for Response to Health Impacts from Climate Change. At present, HEMA, in cooperation with WHO, is developing guidelines on implementing the national action plan at provincial level.
- WHO has been supporting HEMA in building capacity for healthcare staff and raising public awareness were conducted through a series of training courses and campaigns throughout the country.