Bangladesh, as one of the most vulnerable countries of climate change, needs to take a preparedness policy urgently and increase investment in key areas to build a climate resilient health system, said a renowned public health expert here today.
“Climate change has an accumulative impact on public health. Bangladesh as a vulnerable country that has to face flood almost every year needs to take immediate preparedness and management programme to cope with the climate change related health risks,” said Dr. Thamarangsi Thaksaphon.
Dr. Thaksaphone, Director, Non-Communicable and Environmental Health of World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office of South-East Asia was speaking at a media orientation programme here prior to the five-day 17th Regional Committee session of WHO South-East Asia Region that formally begins in the picturesque city of Male tomorrow.
The WHO expert however, emphasized the need for setting up climate resilient health care facilities, adopting health policies with inclusion of climate change risks, recruit technically competent adequate workforce, integrate disease monitoring and surveillance, mobilizing fund to minimize climate induced health risks.
He pointed out that heat wave, injuries and drowning due to extreme weather pattern, several vector borne diseases like diarrhea, malaria, dengue, chikungunya and overall malnutrition are the major diseases caused by climate change in the South-East Asia region.
“With the erratic weather patter due to adverse impact of climate change, a large number of people in the South-East Asian region are likely to be worst affected by the diseases,” he added.
He said 250,000 deaths are caused annually in the world by adverse effect of climate change.
Swarup Kumar Sarkar, Director of Department of Communicable Disease of WHO Regional Office of South East Asia, also made a presentation on Hepatitis while Dr. Pem Namgyal, Director, Family Health, Gender and Life Course of WHO on Micelles and Rubella and Dr. Ahmed Jamshed Mohamed, Regional Adviser of WHO on Vector control also spoke.
The health ministers and officials of the WHO-member countries in the South-East Asia Region will attend the inaugural session of the meeting to discuss health systems resilient to climate change and intensifying efforts to eradicate tuberculosis.
State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque will represent Bangladesh in the WHO regional committee session to discuss Bangladesh’s position in this regard, WHO sources told BSS.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom and Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh will address the meeting, which will also be attended by health officials from member countries and representatives of partner organizations.
WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region Amitabh Bachchan will join the meeting to advocate urgent action against viral hepatitis.
They will discuss ways to strengthen inter-country cooperation in areas such as medicines procurement and pricing, and regulation of medical products, as well as ways to enhance appropriate use of medicines, especially antibiotics to overcome increasing challenges in access of essential medicines at affordable prices.
The 17th WHO Regional Committee meeting will end on September 10 following Male declaration.