WHO emphasizes the significant impact of climate change on human health

by Abbas Adil

Shafaqna India: The World Health Organization (WHO) has presented a series of articles underscoring the detrimental effects of climate change across various stages of human life. Anayda Portela, director of the WHO’s department of maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and aging, highlighted this evidence during a briefing in Geneva, stating that it sheds light on how air pollution and climate-related hazards like wildfires, flooding, and extreme heat impact the health of pregnant women, newborns, children, adolescents, and older individuals.

Portela emphasized the critical importance of this evidence in understanding the primary health risks associated with different climate events for each demographic group. The collection of articles, published in the Journal of Global Health, revealed that climate-related natural hazards have substantial mental and physical health consequences during pregnancy, childhood, and old age, which have often been underestimated.

For instance, heatwaves can increase the risk of preterm births, a leading cause of childhood mortality, while older individuals face heightened risks of heart attacks and respiratory problems. Additionally, heatwaves can impair cognitive function, affecting learning among children and adolescents.

The WHO’s findings coincide with the confirmation by the World Meteorological Organization that 2023 was the hottest year on record. Projections suggest that global temperatures will continue to rise over the next five years, exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Scientists warn that such temperature increases could trigger irreversible and immediate changes in the climate.

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