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WHO: Celebrating world health day

6 Aprile Apr 2008 0200 06 aprile 2008

This year the World Health Organisation has chosen climate change as the theme for world health day. Here is a guide to the resources and best practices related to the day's activities

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This year the World Health Organisation has chosen climate change as the theme for world health day. Here is a guide to the resources and best practices related to the day's activities

The World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates World Health Day every year on 7th April since 1948 to raise public awareness on health. This year?s focus is on protecting health from climate change, as the WHO believes that health, especially in the developing world, is one of the areas most at risk from climate change.

According to the WHO no country will be spared from the ?profound? effects of climate change on health. Their latest reports say that over one thousand extreme weather events have hit the European Region in the last three decades and that in the future heat-waves, droughts, floods, air pollution and changes to plant distribution are likely to have serious impacts on human health.

Most at risk, says the WHO, are those who live in rural areas, the elderly, the very young and, as Marc Danzon, WHO Regional Director for Europe, highlights, future generations. ?Climate change puts out health at risk and, if current trends continue, future generations will have to bear the consequences?. What hopes for the future? According to Danzon, the only way to cope with climate-change related health challenges is through stronger health systems.

Stronger health systems needed
Stronger health systems means increased skills and resources for disease surveillance, disaster preparedness and primary health care, as the future may hold new patterns of infectious diseases, climate related emergencies and heat related illness.

But the WHO also highlights that carbon emissions, air pollutants and noise are also risks that citizens should be aware of, and that cycling, walking and energy-saving are all actions that can benefit our health as well as our environment.

?There are numerous good examples throughout the Region of health systems helping to tackle climate related health problems. World Health Day provides an opportunity to share best practices and to place these important issues at the heart of local, national and international dialogue, policies and actions?, concludes Nata Menabde, Deputy Director at WHO?s Regional European Office. ?While there is no doubt of the reality of climate change, health systems can do a lot to reduce the magnitude of its health consequences?.

To find out more

World health day events in Europe

Best practices in climate change and health strategies

Resources

NGOs

More on climate change