The Role of Public Health Professionals in Curbing Climate Change
The increasing global warming effects aren’t just detrimental for the planet we live on but also for human lives. Variations in climatic conditions such as elevated temperatures, frequent and increased intensity of storms, and sweltering heat have been the stressors for public health. These conditions have caused a spike in the mortality and morbidness rate. While the global climate variation doesn’t give birth to new diseases; however, it tends to alter the nature and patterns of various chronic diseases.
It is relevant to note that some people get more influenced by climate change than others. The extent of climate change impacts mainly depends on two factors – geographical location and the capacity to respond. The vulnerable populations, adolescents, older and impoverished people, are some of the most affected ones.
For these reasons and more, public health officials have been actively playing their part to surmount climate change effects. Today, public health officials capitalize on the Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) program initiated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program aids the workers in developing adaptation strategies for the communities to combat climate change impacts on human health. The five-step process focuses on preparing the public for expected, present, and future health risks.
The article below explicitly defines the measures that public health professionals take to control the increasing threats of climate change:
Raising awareness about climate change and the prevalence of various diseases is one of the most critical functions of public health professionals. They consistently make the public aware of the harmful effects of deadly diseases and educate them about the practices to protect from global warming.
A profession that has come under the limelight, given its cruciality in battling climate change, is biostatisticians. Primarily, the role of a biostatistician is to work for the betterment of public health. Therefore, these professionals gather biological data of the population and apply statistical processes to assess, interpret, and develop valid deductions to work out public health issues. These mathematical findings of research-based data and clinical trials help healthcare professionals better understand the situation and raise awareness about the consequences of global warming.
Moreover, by spreading awareness, public health officials encourage behavioural change and empower the members of society to take necessary measures to lessen greenhouse gas emissions. They also train people in rural areas by initiating educational programs. Such programs aim to teach the public about hygiene practices, cleanliness, immunization plans, and first aid. That way, people will know how to respond to emergencies and lead healthy, fulfilling, and independent lives.
Initiate landscaping programs
Public health workers remain at the forefront and work with different local and global organizations to launch landscape and urban forestry programs. The fundamental and evident purpose of these programs is to realize the advantages of planting trees. Trees purify the air, lessen the toxic pollutants in the atmosphere, thereby cooling the whole city. Not only this, but the green spaces also provide the community with enormous advantages. They strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, and encourage physical exercise.
Also, presently, the increasing summer temperatures have been a problematic issue for several cities and rural dwellers. And these elevated temperatures will probably continue to rise in the future due to climatic variations. Moreover, because of heatwaves, many people lose lives each year, thus, making it the leading weather-related source for increased mortality rate.
However, by maintaining forests and planting trees, people can reduce these high temperatures. Considering these benefits, today, public health workers encourage people to indulge in such programs and impart their efforts for public health gain.
Survey public health conditions
Surveillance has always been an integral component of the public health toolkit. Previously, it was a challenging task to develop a harmonized surveillance system that considers both climate and health factors. However, today numerous methods have been introduced that take into account various climate factors. Some of these include historical heat, precipitation data, future temperature predictions, flood vulnerability.
Public health workers conduct health surveillance of the overall population for the sole purpose of public health management. The term ‘surveillance’ here refers to monitoring and surveying the health of the individuals concerning weather conditions – either for general purpose or some specific pointer. These indicators can be cancer, heart problems, or any other particular disease.
After obtaining the data, the workers spot emerging health problems, chronic illnesses, and harmful infections, given the growing influence of climate change. They also identify environmental factors that can prove detrimental to the community’s health. They further carry out surveys and start screening programs to figure out the intensity of such hazards. That way, they also knuckle down to the prevention strategies. Also, after thoroughly assessing the data, public health professionals communicate it to the governmental agencies to take necessary measures without stalling any further.
The overarching objective of public health workers is to enhance the living quality and health conditions by preventing and treating various infections. With the help of scientific methods and equal privileges, these workers can become influential leaders and confederate individuals and society to deal with global warming.
Before creating policies, public health workers assess the climatic conditions and evaluate the vulnerabilities. Additionally, they work with weather forecasting officials to predict future weather conditions and determine the communities predisposed to such climate. These populations may include people from sensitive life phases or spend a long time outside for trade, profession, or other reasons.
After a complete assessment, public health practitioners design new policies and regulations to curb the repercussions of climate change. These policies effectively amend the general behaviour of the public and aid in overcoming health issues. Not only do they draft regulatory guidelines, but they also ensure that everyone in society complies with them. For example, laws such as charging people for cutting trees and dumping waste in public areas can benefit individuals and the community. Also, they frequently evaluate the policies and ensure that the laws and regulations are pertinent to climate conditions.
The climate crisis continues to pose severe threats to human health and wellness. Regrettably, today the debates on budget allocations and discussions on the use of various technologies to mitigate greenhouse emissions have shrouded the health sector.
However, it’s high time to battle this grave issue. Public health workers should be on the frontline since they are responsible for lessening the growing risks of climate change and projected public health diseases.
No one can deny the power public health practitioners hold. If wholly assimilated in the climate change prevention strategies – their expertise, policies, and knowledge can mobilize leadership and improve health outcomes at all levels. Apart from this, global health bodies should appreciate the efforts of these professionals and knuckle down to improve the public health infrastructure.
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The Role of Public Health Professionals in Curbing Climate Change