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WHO Targets Climate Change for World Health Day 2008

The World Health Organization warns of public health dangers especially for poor countries. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

Next Monday is World Health Day, observed by the World Health Organization. The objective chosen for this year is to get people involved in the campaign to protect against the health effects of climate change.

The World Health Organization is a United Nations agency.

The W.H.O. says there is already evidence of health problems related to climate change. It says more people are dying from extreme heat, and that diseases spread by insects are also on the rise. And it says climate change has increased the risk of natural disasters, especially severe dry weather, wildfires, major storms and floods.

Disasters like these can kill directly or indirectly. People can die or get sick from food shortages or conditions like the spread of disease. Several years ago, the W.H.O. blamed climate change for two percent of diarrhea cases worldwide in the year two thousand.

Last month, researchers in Canada predicted that temperature increases there will spread insects like ticks and mosquitoes farther north. These insects can carry disease.

The scientists also predict that climate change will lead in Canada to an increase in outbreaks of diseases that can be carried in water and food. They note that flooding, heavy rains and warmer temperatures are linked to the spread of bacteria, viruses and other organisms. This is true even in the presence of water treatment systems, they say.

The report by scientists at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

World Health Day marks the establishment of the World Health Organization on April seventh, nineteen forty-eight. One goal this year is to call for local and international partnerships that will seek to improve health through efforts to stabilize climate change. The W.H.O. says it aims to put public health at the center of U.N. efforts on climate change.

A major message of this World Health Day is that the health of poor people will be hurt the most. The W.H.O. says different areas of the world will experience different problems from climate change. But it says countries with high levels of poverty and underdevelopment will be the least prepared to deal with them.

And that’s the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. For more health news, along with transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs, go to I’m Barbara Klein.