Addressing the health effects of climate change

Worldwide climate change has already begun to dramatically affect human health. Due to extreme weather events, not only infectious diseases, but also coronary, respiratory and metabolic illnesses are on the rise. According to Astrid Klug, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), people in countries with incipient or not yet existing health systems suffer most from the negative consequences of climate change. Together with Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ms Klug took part in an event in Berlin earlier today to present seven projects the Environment Ministry is promoting in South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia on health-related adaptation to climate change.

The projects in Albania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan receive funding from the Federal Environment Ministry's International Climate Initiative. The goal is to inform citizens, medical staff and emergency responders as well as different risk groups on how to protect themselves individually, often with simple means, against the health effects of climate change.

Building on its experience in environmental and climate protection, Germany in cooperation with the WHO wants to support other countries in preparing their health systems for the risks of climate change and in developing effective adaptation measures. Ms Klug emphasized: "Climate change is a global problem. Therefore we have to cooperate and network at the global level if we want to successfully support the health systems of the affected countries."

The event was attended not only by representatives of all seven project countries but also by the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Health Ministry, Marion Caspers-Merk.