Experts to work on Montenegro’s health system strategy to adapt to climate change
A group of health experts from WHO, the Montenegrin Ministry of Health, Institute of Public Health and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have agreed to work on a joint project to develop for the first time in Montenegro a strategy for adapting the national health system to climate change and its impact on Montenegrins’ health.
At the national roundtable in Podgorica, held on 20 December 2013, public health experts discussed how to strengthen the capacity for understanding the health risks posed by climate change. Special emphasis was also given to responding to early warnings and having emergency plans in place.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Mira Dasic, spoke about how the effects of heat stress and extreme weather directly caused by hazardous weather conditions can result in increased morbidity or mortality. “Indirectly, we are also affected by diseases transmitted by water, food and allergens from the air," said Dr Dasic.
The Head of the WHO Country Office in Montenegro, Ms Mina Brajović, also stressed that climate change is a very serious and complex challenge when it comes to dealing with sustainable development, the environment and public health.
"Adaptation to climate change is imperative. Otherwise, we will be faced with increased pressure on our health systems,” she added.
Professor Vladimir Kendrovski, Technical Officer for the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, said that experts predict almost 90 000 people will die worldwide as a consequence of heat-waves alone if we do not take action before 2100. “If there is no change, there will be an increase in water shortages, droughts, fires, heat-waves and extremely high temperatures,” he warned.
The roundtable was organized within implementation of the biennial collaborative agreement between the Ministry of Health of Montenegro and WHO/Europe for 2012–2013 and supported by the United Nations system in Montenegro.