1.4 Real-Time Climate Information for Decision-Making in Health for Africa

Monday, 8 January 2018: 9:30 AM
Room 17B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Wassila M. Thiaw, NOAA/NWS/NCEP, Climate Prediction Center, College Park, MD

The scientific community has now clearly recognized that short-term climate variations from weeks to months and seasons can have significant impacts on human health. In particular extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and flooding, droughts, heat waves, dust, can trigger infectious disease outbreaks with adverse effects on public health. For example malaria and rift valley fever epidemics can be amplified by rainfall surpluses sufficient enough to create water stagnations that can last for weeks. Likewise, extremely elevated air temperature and relative humidity can cause cardiovascular illnesses. The impact of climate variability on health is a global issue, but proven to be more acute in the developing world, especially Africa. The NOAA’s Climate Prediction with access to global climate observations and model data, and expertise in the monitoring and forecasting of the global climate system, provides access to operational real time climate information that can enable decision making in various socio-economic sectors including public health. This presentation will focus on NWS 2016 and 2017 climate and health milestones to provide climate information relevant to the malaria and heat-health communities in Africa with focus on Senegal and Tanzania, featuring two different ecosystems in Africa. Training for health professionals in Senegal and Tanzania to better understand the basics of climate variability, operational climate products and their usefulness in decision making is discussed. The real time climate information that is provided can also be of benefit to health professionals working on other public health issues in Africa including rift valley fever and meningitis. The intent is to work with the international community to expand the climate monitoring and forecasting tools for health professionals.
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