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Viet Nam: Healthcare improvement for community to combat to climate change

Source(s):  Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Viet Nam) (MONRE)

The National Target Programme to Respond to Climate Change determined that health is one of the areas which are strongly affected by climate change. Therefore, the Government and local authorities do their efforts to deploy many measures and programs to control and prevent diseases are working to implement a number of measures, many programs to control and prevent the disease, raising awareness of people and protecting public health.

Great threat to human health

In a recent report, international experts warned that climate change always has potentially huge threat to human health. Climate change can reduce 50 years of development benefits and global health. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change causes death and disease through the consequences of natural disasters like heat waves, heat, storms, floods and droughts ... Many diseases have been increased due to the impact of temperature change and life circumstances, especially vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, encephalitis, intestinal diseases and other diseases. The heat increases air pollution and often cause respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease.

In Vietnam, climate change causes direct impact to human health, increasing the risk of infectious diseases. For the last 10 years, the development of some infectious diseases has increased.

The heat wave appears more frequently and more intensively. That led to the increase of diseases and death, especially the poor, the elderly and children. Extreme weather also increases the risk of mutations for older people.

Along with that, climate change factor tends to increase its impacts on affected areas and fields, especially people's lives. Temperature rise will cause prolonged drought, which affects fertility, the high risk of transmission of malaria and dengue fever.

To minimize effects of climate change

To warn and control diseases related to climate change, Vietnam is making efforts to propose synchronous solution to cope in the immediate and long-term effects on health caused by climate change.

Accordingly, the weather forecast improvement is considered the first priority task to help most vulnerable groups, like the elderly and children. Along with that, good weather forecasts will help assess the impact of climate change on the sensitive and vulnerable areas, then giving out response measures to minimize the effects of the disease transmitted to people.

For the healthcare sector, the Ministry of Health has developed plans limiting the diseases, including: mapping of the climate change affected areas on people's health; organizing popularizing knowledge about the impact of climate change on health for healthcare staff, workers and community, measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change; mobilizing the participation of all communities in response to take care and protect people's health; organizing campaigns on climate change on health in sensitive and vulnerable areas.

In the National Strategy on Climate Change also mentioned about targets to improve community health care system to respond effectively to climate change with the following contents: renovating, upgrading and building new infrastructure, modernizing heathcare equipments, improving capacity of healthcare staff from central to grassroot levels and strengthening the work of disease prevention.

However, to do this, the government should take specific action and policies in order to renovate and upgrade the infrastructure and capacity building for human resources of the sector.

Accordingly, activities will focus on identifying vulnerable areas affected by climate change, or seting up an early warning system for climate change monitoring, including detection and early warning of infectious diseases, especially newly appeared and emerged diseases.

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  • Publication date 21 Oct 2015

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