Climate Change / Natural Disaster

Climate Change: The biggest health threat to humanity

06/05/2022 7:36am

Global warming and climate change headlines have spared no one. The urgency for climate action has become a top priority for world leaders. Activists have taken to the streets to highlight the need for collective action. But did you know that climate change is now the biggest health threat to humanity that we currently face (WHO, 2022)? 

This isn’t a prediction, but rather a fact. At least for those who reside in low-resourced countries. While no one is safe from the implications of climate change, it is important to recognize that high-resourced’ nations  have the infrastructure, advanced technologies, healthcare systems and a larger economy that can already support its populations from the implications of climate change. Yet this isn’t the case for over 930 million people (12% of the global population), who spend at least 10% of their household budget to pay for healthcare (WHO). Furthermore, 100 million people  are being pushed into poverty every year, due to  the impacts of climate change – these are the poorest of people, who are largely uninsured, and face health shocks and stresses (WHO, 2022) . 

Did you know that  the people who are the most affected by climate change are also the ones that contribute to global issues the least?

The implications of climate change faced by the most vulnerable communities aren’t just limited to diseases like malaria and diarrhoea, or even heat-stress, it also increases malnutrition cases.  Given that most crops are climate sensitive, harvests and crop output will decrease, which will inflate the prices of food commodities, therefore making food and nutrition even more inaccessible to the poorest of communities who live under £1 a day. Additionally, countries like Malawi already experience very heavy-rainfalls and flooding every year, which will not only impose a barrier for vulnerable communities living in remote-regions to access healthcare, but can also destroy the already existing healthcare infrastructures that existaround these remote areas. 

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress (WHO). 

Understanding, acting and advocating for communities affected by climate change is even more critical than ever. 

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