Protecting health from climate change in Kazakhstan

WHO

On 20 September 2011, WHO and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan convened a working group meeting for the joint project: Protecting Health from Climate Change in Kazakhstan.

The objective of the meeting was to update partners on the project implementation, share preliminary results of the vulnerability assessment study, and agree upon the priorities to be set in the national adaptation plan and time line.

According to the vulnerability assessment, the main area of special concern in Kazakhstan is the possible growth of cardiovascular, bronchi-pulmonary and infectious diseases. The project will also provide information on the benefits of implementing adaptation activities to climate change, which will also be applied in the third national communication to the conference of the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change.

Key findings of an assessment of the capacity of the health care system in crisis management were shared, and expected risks in Eastern Kazakhstan were explained and discussed.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan as well as academia and scientific centres involved in this area, including those responsible for strategic development of the health care system, environmentalists and statisticians. 

About the project

The purpose of this project is to develop a concept to mitigate the negative impact of climate change on human health based on an assessment of health system vulnerability to climate change, emergencies and disasters, as well as increase the health system’s adaptive capacities to cope with diseases associated with climate.

In recent years, many countries, including Kazakhstan, have already experienced some negative effects of climate change: there have been fatal flooding and inundations in some regions in 2010, and deaths from windstorms in May 2011. In addition there has been an increase in some infectious diseases, including cases of Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever.

These tendencies and events cannot be completely attributed to climate change only, but give an idea of the problems that will occur more frequently and intensively as the climate changes. They will create an additional burden for health care resources, which needed to be addressed now through training and adaptation activities.

The Project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.