Climate change in the Western Pacific
Over the last 50 years, human activities have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to affect the global climate. The resulting changes in the global climate bring a range of risks to health, from deaths in extreme high temperatures to changing patterns of infectious diseases. Climate and weather variables pose threats to food and water security, and cause outbreaks of waterborne and vectorborne diseases. Moreover, the increased pressure on scarce resources triggers climate-related migration and conflicts. Under business-as-usual scenarios, it is estimated that between 2030 to 2050, climate change will cause an additional 250 000 deaths annually.
Health systems must be made more resilient, especially in developing countries, in order to respond to the impacts of climate change. There is a need for an interdisciplinary and holistic approach among governments, communities and individuals coupled with changes in behaviour and practices in order to reduce the impact of climate change and ensure sustainability.