Impacts on Health and wellbeing
Increases in climate change impact have shown to have significant impacts on health and wellbeing. Impacts from extreme weather events can include risk of physical injuries or mortality as well as risk of disease from pathogens or toxic agents after an extreme event, such as waterborne infectious diseases etc. Adverse impacts to mental health from extreme weather events can also be an indirect effect on society through factors such as stress, loss or displacement (DCCAE,2018)
Effective mitigation and adaptation strategies are therefore needed to reduce such profound implications for the Irish population. This will include the smooth delivery of Ireland's health and social care services as well as our critical infrastructure. As part of the National Adaptation Framework, a five year plan addressing climate change adaptation for Ireland's health sector has just been published by the Minister of Health (Oct, 2019). The Minister has announced that a Climate Change Oversight Group will be established within the health sector with the role to drive and oversee implementation of the actions set out in the plan.
The Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Health Sector (2019 - 2024) considers adaptation actions that monitor mental health effects of severe weather events and involve specific public health risk assessments that pertain to infectious diseases and mental health risks in such events. A greater understanding of the potential impacts of climate on health as well as skills development, training and resourcing is required within the health sector. The establishment of a national level assessment to measure climate change impacts on human health and wellbeing is essential for adequate adaptation responses to anticipated future health issues arising from climate change (EPA, 2019). The most up to date version of Ireland's adaptation plan for the health sector can be found here.
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