WHO warns of risks of climate change for the health of pregnant women, children and the elderly

Geneva — High temperatures, droughts and other effects derived from climate change have “serious repercussions” on the mental and physical health of pregnant women, children and the elderly populationwarned this Friday the World Health Organization (WHO).

These groups are “especially exposed” to the effects of climate change, the WHO expert on maternal health, newborns, children, adolescents and the elderly warned at a press conference in Geneva; Anayda Portela, who asked for greater investment to protect these populations.

Several Studies published this week by the UN health agency provide alarming data on the impact of high temperatures and air pollution in pregnant women, such as a greater probability of suffering premature birth, as well as other negative impacts on the brain and lung development of the fetus.

In addition, unusually high temperatures would also be associated with hypertension and gestational diabetes in pregnancy.

Regarding the child population, the WHO expert warned that Each additional degree Celsius of daily minimum temperature above 75.2°F increases the risk of infant mortality by up to 22.4%..

Furthermore, extreme heat also seriously affects the elderly populationwho are more likely to suffer heart attacks or respiratory problems during heat waves.

Other effects of climate change, such as drought in Somalia or the heavy flooding in Pakistan either Brazilalso reduce access to drinking water and food supply, causing an increase in diarrheal diseases and malnutrition in the most vulnerable groups.

Faced with this situation, the WHO expert urged governments to promote specific measures that protect health at different stages of life, as well as guarantee that health and care services are prepared to meet the needs of the people most exposed to climate disasters.