Weather information vital in managing public health risks

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Millions of people lost their homes after massive floods devastated Pakistan in summer 2010

Climate variability and extreme conditions such as floods are increasingly causing epidemics of diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria, dengue and meningitis, according to UN health and Climate experts.

The World Health Organization(WHO) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) say collaboration between public health and weather experts can help better manage the control and prevention of health risks associated with changes in weather patterns.

The two agencies have teamed up to produce the first ever Atlas of Health and Climate which shows the linkage between global weather patterns and health risks.

Speaking at the launch of the atlas, WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan said timely information on changing weather patterns is a powerful tool for public health services in managing health risks.

WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud says the publication was as a result of the realization that weather prediction services were not being incorporated into managing public health services.

"What we have been doing over the last 15-20 years, there has been huge scientific progress in our understanding of the climate system and in our ability to predict. We want to translate this scientific progress into information for decision making. There was a lot of cooperation, there was lots of information which was used by the health sector, there was a lot of dialogue between our two organizations but we are now at a point where by putting in place this thing, we believe we can make a quantum jump, we can do even better and that will translate into more lives saved it will translate into better information for the health sector and also for food security, disaster prevention and many key sectors."

Duration 39"


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