The World Meteorological Organization has cautioned that the climate crisis poses a significant threat to the decades of progress made in improving public health, and governments are not adequately equipped to mitigate this threat.
A report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has found that while three-quarters of national weather agencies send climate data to their country’s health officials, less than one in four health ministries use the information to protect people from risks such as extreme heat. The report, written by the WMO and over 30 partner institutions, found that despite hot weather killing more people than any other type of extreme weather, health experts had access to heat warning services in only half of the affected countries.
The report also criticised the lack of investment in healthcare as the planet heats up, with only 0.2% of loans and grants given to climate adaptation projects going to schemes that identified health as the primary focus. This leaves the health sector ill-prepared to safeguard the most vulnerable. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said that the climate crisis is a health crisis, driving more severe and unpredictable weather events, fueling disease outbreaks, and contributing to higher rates of noncommunicable diseases. By working together to make high-quality climate services more accessible to the health sector, we can help protect the health and wellbeing of people facing the perils of climate change.