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Today in Washington DC the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO -a section of the World Health Organization) will be kicking off a year of events, public education campaigns, and initiatives related to this year's theme: Protecting Health From Climate Change.
"Climate change is already affecting the health of people in countries around the world, and the consensus is that these effects are only going to intensify," said PAHO Director Dr. Mirta Roses, who will give the welcoming message at an event today. "This year's World Health Day is a call for raising awareness and taking action to protect health through preventive measures at the global, regional, and local levels. We cannot wait any longer to act."
Here is more information from PAHO's press release:
Climate change threatens human health in diverse and broad-reaching ways, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It can increase extreme weather events, such as the 2003 heat wave that killed some 35,000 Europeans in 2003. It can affect the incidence and spread of infectious diseases such as dengue and malaria. And it can contribute to water and food scarcity or increase the risks of water and food contamination. In the most general sense, climate change can alter the ecosystem in ways that impact heavily on human well-being and even survival.
Such hazards are likely to have the greatest impact on poorer and more vulnerable countries and population groups, including the elderly, the very young, people with medical conditions, and those living in poor and isolated communities.
Also at higher risk are people who live in small-island states and coastal areas, and countries where climate-sensitive diseases are already endemic, where water is already scarce, or where food production is low.
You can find out more at PAHO's World Health Day web page.
We'll have more details soon on how PAHO and Live Earth will work together to spread the message that we can all be part of the solution to climate change!