15 Nov 2019, 13:50
Sören Amelang

German doctors call for national strategy to deal with health effects of climate change

Clean Energy Wire

German doctors have called for a national plan to deal with the damaging health effects of climate change. Heat waves will become more frequent, more intense, and last longer, and the spread of tropical diseases will pose further challenges, warned Klaus Reinhardt, head of the German Medical Association, in reaction to a new international report on the devastating health effects of climate change. This requires preparations from rescue services, hospitals, old people's and nursing homes, the medical association said. Additional staff will be required to ensure that residents drink enough, for example. Old people, babies, the chronically ill, and people working outdoors, such as farmers and construction workers, are among those most at risk from heat waves. "We believe it is our duty as medics to name those effects clearly, and to call for adequate responses," Reinhardt said.

If CO2 emissions continue unabated, southern Germany could expect up to 30 more heatwaves per year and northern Germany an additional five, according to the study published as part of the medical journal Lancet’s annual Countdown on Health and Climate Change. The German population has already become more exposed to heatwaves: 6 million more people over the age of 65 were exposed to heatwaves in 2018 compared to in 2015, the study said.

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