J2.2 Lessons Learned on Health Adaptation to Infectious Diseases in Low- and Middle-income Countries

Monday, 11 January 2016: 4:30 PM
Room 228/229 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Kristie L. Ebi, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Lessons learned and opportunities and barriers to scaling up health adaptation to infectious diseases were identified from three multinational health adaptation projects covering fourteen low- and middle-income countries during 2008-2013, and from qualitative data collected through a focus group consultation and interviews with 19 key informants purposively selected for their expertise and role in health adaptation to climate change. Evaluation reports and other materials covering the implementation of three multinational health adaptation projects covering Albania, Barbados, Bhutan, China, Fiji, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Philippines Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan were qualitatively reviewed and synthesized.

The national projects increased resilience to changes in the geographic range and incidence of infectious diseases by focusing on incremental improvements in policies and programs to address climate variability, and by beginning to establish enabling environments for additional adaptation. Irrespective of resource constraints, low and middle-income countries need to prepare for climate change through better understanding of potential risks, strengthening health systems, ensuring adequate policies and legislation, facilitating institutional support, and public education and awareness programs, including disaster preparedness measures. However, no project planned nor considered how to scale up activities to improve surveillance and other programs to manage the risks of infectious diseases in a changing climate. National health plans need to move beyond focusing on climate variability to transforming adaptation into multi-faceted, collaborative, and iterative programs incorporating longer-term climate change.

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