Improving public health responses to extreme weather/heat-waves : EuroHEAT, report on a WHO meeting



EuroHEAT, a DG SANCO co-funded project, aimed to improve public health responses to weather extremes and to heat-waves in particular. As coordinator of the project, the WHO Regional Office for Europe organized an international expert meeting in Bonn to discuss project findings and to develop key policy recommendations for future action. The project assessed the evidence for the health impacts of extreme weather, developed a climate information decision support tool for heat and actions to prevent health impacts. Overall project results are presented in this report. Based on these results, core elements of heat health action plans have been identified and main messages of heat health advice for a range of target groups formulated. The meeting concluded that information on best practice heat health action plans, medium term probability heat forecasting, criteria for decision making, multi–targeted education material and on excess mortality in summer times needs to be made accessible on an information platform. WHO in collaboration with its EuroHEAT partners and the EC is planning to i) clarify the scientific uncertainties surrounding the multi-targeted education material; ii) make available the full information elaborated in this project by early 2008 for planning processes for the summer of 2008; iii) make available for countries guidance for the development of heat health action plans; transform the EuroHEAT web site into an open accessible information platform – in collaboration with the EC Portal.