Health

Climate change impacts every aspect of human life in complex and interconnected ways. The effects of climate change on health can be either direct (i.e.  exposure to extreme and unusual temperatures, drought and flooding) or indirect (i.e., through changes in air quality, food and water availability/quality, and infectious disease epidemiology). Generally, these effects are further compounded by a variety of biological (age, gender), ecological (pollution, disease-causing microbes, food and water contamination) and socio-political (socio-economic status, acclimation, occupation, health infra-structure, housing conditions) factors. For countries within the EMME, vulnerability to climate change is heightened by factors such as high rates of population growth and urbanization, aging demographics, political and military conflicts, mass population displacement and, in some cases, struggling economies.

In this report, we summarize current knowledge regarding the effects of climate change on the health of the population living in the EMME, with particular focus on exposure to extreme temperatures, water shortage and food security, vector-borne diseases, air pollution, and political instability/refugee health.  In addition, we offer policy suggestions, which will help to ameliorate some of these effects primarily for susceptible individuals including the very young, the elderly, people with chronic or pre-existing medical conditions, and socially vulnerable populations including poor, malnourished, displaced, and those lacking basic resources and sanitation.