When most people think of climate change, they envision melting iceburgs and a rising sea level. While climate change is indeed warming the globe and causing the seas to rise, that is not the only detrimental effect. Disruption of weather patterns can include stronger and more frequent storms, droughts, wildfires, extreme flooding and heat waves. Climate change can also affect agriculture and land use. As regions become less livable, more people will become climate refugees. Warming temperatures and unprecedented flooding have also encouraged the spread of mosquitos well beyond their traditional breeding grounds, bringing dengue fever, malaria and the Zika virus to areas never before threatened by these debilitating illnesses. If nothing is done, Zika will threaten an additional 1.3 billion people by 2050, and dengue fever will impact 60 percent of the world’s population by 2080.
But many climate impacts on health are already happening. In the last fifty years, the incidence of dengue fever has increased 30-fold by one estimate, to an annual rate of 390 million infections worldwide, 96 million of which are symptomatic cases. An estimated 3.9 billion people, in 129 countries, are at risk of infection. This is not a problem of the future. It’s an expanding threat that needs to be addressed today.
By working with global partners to integrate climate and health responses and bring new data analytics to bear, the global health ecosystem can build a healthier future for people and the planet. This session will provide an overview of projects underway in Thailand, India and Brazil that demonstrate the value of integrating traditional public health data with data not used traditionally by public health officials to inform actionable and targeted public health interventions in LMICs. The projects cover multiple infectious diseases with a focus on dengue fever as a use case and the co-creation of data products and models with our partners embedded in there community in Thailand, Brazil and India.
Objectives of the session include sharing key learning and insights from action on the ground that validate the feasibility and desirability of a data and analytics driven approach to assess and respond to climate-sensitive infectious diseases.
We anticipate the following outcomes for the public health officials collaborating with us in the regions:
- Provide health authorities with a 2-4 week warning of Dengue serotype (variants) emergence
- Develop prototype pathogen emergence warning dashboard to inform decisions