This report assesses the impact of climate change on the healthcare system in Belgium. For different health sector related treats, the current situation as well as expected changes were identified in a first step. In a second step existing and planned measures were inventoried and evaluated. By combining the information of these two steps, possible gaps were identified leading to the proposal of adaptation measures and recommendations that can ensure the health care system to continue its healthprotective and curative role in the context of a changing climate. Across the study, special attention is paid to vulnerable populations.
The paper finds that climate related health effects come in many forms. Firstly, the direct health impacts from weather extremes such as high temperatures and heat waves, floods, storms, are visible in figures of mortality and injuries or morbidity effects. Secondly, climate change is altering ecological and environmental conditions, and some areas are becoming more suitable for various infectious diseases. This results in ecosystem-mediated indirect health impacts such as vector-, food- and waterborne diseases, respiratory diseases due to increasing air pollution, exacerbation of allergic reactions due to pollen. Thirdly, there are indirect health impacts linked to occupational health and stresses to mental health and well-being.