The rationale

Woman in field before monsoon, Purulia, India

Why climate change affects health

Changing weather patterns pose a serious threat to people’s health. While extreme weather events such as heatwaves, storms or natural disasters can lead directly to illness, injury or death, most effects of climate change on health are more indirect. Whether and how climate change affects people’s health status depends on local environmental conditions, their socio-economic status as well as on the resilience of communities and health systems, i.e. on their capacity to prepare for and flexibly respond to climate-related challenges.

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The assessment

Typhoon survivors, Tacloban City, Philippines

How to assess climate-related health risks

Vulnerability and adaptation assessments aim to identify the health risks that climate change poses in a particular country or region. Depending on their scope, they review resilience at health system and community level and consider and prioritise options for adaptation.

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The response

Woman fetches water from polluted source

How to adapt to climate-related health risks

Climate-related adaptation measures can mitigate against climate-related health impacts, both at the health system and community level. They can take diverse forms, depending on the particular risks in a given country or region and on the available time, resources and capacities.

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‘It’s time to act’: A video about climate change and health

‘It’s time to act’: A video about cli­mate change and health

How is climate change impacting human health? And how can health systems be strengthened to address these new challenges? This five-minute animated film shows why climate-related adaptation measures are urgently needed in the health sector and explains how they can be planned and implemented.

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Assessing risks

Haze over Addis Ababa

Examples of vulnerability assessments

How vulnerability and adaptation assessments are undertaken varies depending on stakeholders’ specific questions and objectives as much as on the time and funds they are willing and able to invest. German Development Cooperation has supported different types of vulnerability assessments.

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Adaptation measures

Balaka District, Malawi

Examples of adaptation measures

Adaptive measures aim to enable communities and health systems to prevent and/or to address the climate-related health risks that vulnerability assessments have identified. German Development Cooperation has supported different types of adaptive measures.

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Good reads

Toolkit website

WHO health and climate change toolkit

WHO just published this one-stop resource which contains key resources, including WHO’s own and many other organisations’ publications on climate change and health. It is regularly updated and intended for planners, policy makers, and those working at the policy/practice interface.

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