Australian health system unprepared for climate change
April 16, 2019
The country’s health system s unprepared to deal with the growing impacts of climate change, according to a new article released in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Lead author and public health expert Professor Gerard Fitzgerald said that the country needs to adopt a whole-of-system, comprehensive approach to deal with the growing impacts of climate change.
“With a summer of back to back bushfires, droughts, floods and heatwaves, Australia is no stranger to the ever more frequent, ferocious effects of climate change,” Professor Fitzgerald said.
“Risk to Australians from climate change will vary but rising temperatures directly affect people’s health and wellbeing with heat-related illness such as heat stress and heat stroke and indirectly on people with chronic cardiovascular, respiratory and renal diseases, and mental health problems.
The authors said the long-term consequences of natural disasters, particularly of mental health effects were difficult to predict.
“Identifying immediate direct effects (injuries and deaths) is relatively straightforward but longer term impacts and indirect health consequences are less clear,” Professor Fitzgerald said.