Public health in developing countries to suffer most from climate change

Climate change is an emerging threat to global public health. It is also highly inequitable, as the greatest risks are to the poorest populations, who have contributed least to greenhouse gas emissions. The rapid economic development and the concurrent urbanization of poorer countries mean that developing-country cities will be both vulnerable to health hazards from climate change and, simultaneously, an increasing contributor to the problem. Climate Change and Developing-Country Cities, one of the articles in the current supplement to Springer’s Journal of Urban Health focuses on the implications for environmental health and equity. It reviews the specific health vulnerabilities of urban populations in developing countries and highlights the range of large direct health effects of energy policies that are concentrated in urban areas.

More information on these and other measures to protect public health and promote health equity in urban settings is now freely accessible online in a special supplement to the May/June 2007 issue of the Journal of Urban Health. The 15 articles in the supplement were issued by the Knowledge Network on Urban Settings of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.

“Achieving health equity in the urban setting requires action toward fairness and equity within and between countries. Engaging the people themselves, urban communities and multiple sectors in the urban development process is a must,” explains Tord Kjellstrom, coauthor of the supplement’s introduction. This supplement is a key means of sustaining momentum for action and research on social determinants of health in urban settings.

Highlights of the supplement, entitled “Achieving Health Equity in Urban Settings,” include reports regarding the influence of climate change on health status, the post-disaster response in Indonesia, and improvements needed to the design of housing and shelter programs in developing countries. Leading global experts from the WHO, Pan American Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and major research institutions including the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) are among the authors.

The Journal of Urban Health, the official peer-reviewed journal of the New York Academy of Medicine, addresses health issues from both clinical and policy perspectives. In addition to original articles, the Journal publishes urban health data, book reviews, selected reports and proceedings from NYAM symposia, and classic papers that are important to the knowledge base of the field. The journal is published bimonthly.

1. Supplement to Journal of Urban Health, Achieving Health Equity in Urban Settings, Vol 84 (Supplement 1) May 2007, p i1-i174.

The supplement is available free of charge online at http://www.springerlink.com/content/1099-3460


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