World Bank: Climate change affects health and mental well-being in Bangladesh
Irregular weather conditions can cause dengue outbreaks and depression-anxiety; respiratory diseases can increase with an increase in temperature and humidity
In Bangladesh, climate change is leading to an increase in the spread of infectious diseases and affecting people’s mental health, according to a new report from the World Bank.
The Climate Afflictions report links changing climatic conditions to the increase in respiratory, water and mosquito-borne illnesses as well as mental health issues.
With further climate changes predicted, more physical and mental health issues are likely to emerge. The most vulnerable are children and the elderly, and those living in big cities like Dhaka and Chittagong said a press release.
“Bangladesh has taken on the challenges of climate change remarkably, despite being one of the most vulnerable countries. It has built its resilience to natural disasters and introduced local solutions to improve agricultural productivity, ”said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“With more evidence showing a pronounced impact of climate change on physical and mental health, Bangladesh must build on its success in adaptation to ensure a stronger health system that avoids epidemics of emerging diseases susceptible to disease. weather. She added.
Over the past 44 years, Bangladesh has experienced a temperature increase of 0.5 degrees Celsius. Summers are getting hotter and longer, winters are warmer, and the monsoon seasons extend from February to October.
With these models, the distinct seasonal variations of the country become blurred. By 2050, temperatures are expected to increase by 1.4 degrees Celsius in Bangladesh.
Erratic weather conditions played a key role in the 2019 dengue outbreak in the city of Dhaka, where 77% of the total dengue-related deaths in the country occurred. That year, Dhaka recorded more than three times the average rainfall in February, followed by high temperature and humidity between March and July.
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Compared to the monsoon, the probability of contracting an infectious disease is about 20% lower than in the dry season.
Respiratory diseases increase with increasing temperature and humidity. For a temperature rise of 1 degree Celsius, people are more likely to suffer from respiratory diseases by 5.7% points; for a 1% increase in humidity, the chances of catching a respiratory infection increase by 1.5%.
Weather conditions also affect mental health. More and more people suffer from depression during the winter, while the level of anxiety disorders increases with temperature and humidity. In addition, women are more likely than men to suffer from depression, while men are more susceptible to anxiety.
“In the future, by ensuring more robust data collection, Bangladesh will be able to better track the evolution of climate-sensitive diseases,” said Iffat Mahmud, World Bank operations manager and co-author of the report.
“In particular by recording accurate weather data at the local level and linking it to health data, it will be possible to predict potential epidemics and establish a climate-based dengue early warning system.”
The report further suggests that by strengthening health systems, Bangladesh can cope with outbreaks of infectious and other climate-sensitive diseases.
In addition, sensitization and community mobilization through the creation of self-help groups will help the country deal more effectively with mental health issues.