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The impact of climate change on the health of the poor

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This DFID key sheet aimed at DFID staff and development partners considers the impact of climate change on the health of the world's poor, and explores tools for adaptation to climate change. Health-related impacts of climate change include: increased water insecurity and food insecurity caused by variations in seasonal rainfall; reduced water quality due to flooding and drought, linked to an increase in water-borne diseases such as cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases; and increased humidity and temperatures, which encourage the spread of vector-borne diseases including malaria and dengue fever. Extreme climatic events or "shocks" can also disrupt health services through damage to facilities and transport networks.The key sheet stresses that health vulnerabilities to climate change should be addressed through the strengthening of planning systems, a multisectoral approach, improved preparedness, and a greater emphasis on prevention. Key recommendations include: allocation of additional funds for rebuilding health services and restoring access following climatic extremes; improved water and sanitation networks to prevent disease outbreaks associated with flooding or drought; improved surveillance of disease and use of health early warning systems, based on climate, environmental and population movement data; and continued support for preventative control of vector-borne diseases such as malaria.