Improving Health Preparedness for Extreme Heat Events in South Asia

Organization: WMO-WHO Joint Office for Climate and Health

Year: 2016

In response to the recognized high risks and potential impacts of extreme heat in South Asia, the 1st South Asia Climate Services Forum for Health focused on heat health and brought together over 25 experts in public health, climate and meteorology to discuss the needs and opportunities for multi-sectoral collaboration to better understand and address these health risks in the region.

This meeting contributes a regional perspective to a global discussion on the state of the science and practice in heat health action. Under the leadership of the US-NOAA and German Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), a global coalition of meteorological experts and health practitioners came together in Chicago in July 2015 to consider three issues. First, to identify knowledge gaps in our understanding of heat exposure and health outcomes across different timescales and geographies; along with the observations, monitoring, data, and forecast product needs. Secondly, to synthesize existing heat health forecasting systems being used around the world and to consider if their prediction parameters correspond to health sector requirements for preparedness. Thirdly, to identify specific partnerships, dialogues or processes needed to improve existing heat health early warning systems and develop heat related climate services for the public health sector to improve community resilience. The need for support and action in South Asia was highlighted at this meeting, and the CSFHealth dialogue and recommendations will feed back into the global effort to increase capacity and action in this region.