WHO predicts rise in vector-borne diseases in India

April 7th, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) South and southeast Asia will see a major surge in vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases and malnourishment due to global warming, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Monday. “We all know the last decade was the hottest in terms of temperature. The Southeast Asia region will see an increase of malaria, chikungunya, diarrhoea and other related problems,” said Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO regional director for Southeast Asia.

“India, a major player in the region, will see the vector borne and infectious disease situation intensify,” Plianbangchang said on the occasion of World Health Day.

He said that global warming would have “serious and damaging effects” on human health.

“Air quality will suffer greatly and respiratory illness will be exacerbated. Heat wave will be more intense and of longer duration. It will mainly affect the vulnerable populations in children and the elderly through heat strokes and cardio-vascular complications,” he warned.

Poonam Khetrapal Singh, deputy regional director, said that due to global warming there were 2.2 million deaths following respiratory problems across the world.

“In Southeast Asia, 800,000 people died due to it in 2005. A major portion of mortality is from India. In the same year, 500,000 people died due to diarrhoea in the region,” Singh said.

“Similarly, the region contributes over 50 percent of the global dengue cases,” she added.

WHO officials said six health outcomes likely to be affected by climate change in the region are respiratory diseases, vector-borne diseases (malaria and dengue), water borne diseases (diarrhoea and cholera), malnutrition, injuries and psychosocial stress.

“We cannot wait for things to happen. We must get ready, prepare our emergency care to face any eventuality,” Singh said.

WHO’s India Representative Saleem Habayeb said: “India is very much concerned about the problem and preparing a report on it. The report will be out by June and underline the adaptive and mitigation measures being put in place to tackle the concern.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |