Sifa Medical Journal

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 54--55

How can we minimize the health-related consequences of El Niρo on millions of people worldwide?


Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. How can we minimize the health-related consequences of El Niρo on millions of people worldwide?.Sifa Med J 2016;3:54-55


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. How can we minimize the health-related consequences of El Niρo on millions of people worldwide?. Sifa Med J [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Mar 23 ];3:54-55
Available from: http://www.imjsu.org/text.asp?2016/3/2/54/182004


Full Text

Sir,

El Niño refers to the rise in temperature of the central to eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that has influenced both the rainfall patterns and temperature ranges, especially in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America over the years. [1] In fact, it has been anticipated that lives and health standards of close to 60 million people from the high-risk regions will be affected in the year 2016 alone due to the resulting natural emergencies, which will be the worst estimate till date. [1],[2]

The majority of the health consequences has been expected to result due to the variability in the rainfall levels than the normal. [1] Owing to the increased rains or cyclones, consequences such as direct injuries, fatality, vector-borne diseases, waterborne diseases due to deteriorating quality of drinking water or sanitation, disruption in the routine health services because of the damage to the infrastructure, and long-term psychosocial effects owing to the massive population displacement. [1],[3] However, on the other end of the spectrum, lesser rainfall-drought-wildfires has led to the aggravation of food insecurity and increase in the prevalence of malnutrition, rising incidence of infectious or waterborne diseases, and aggravation of conditions such as heat stress and respiratory ailments. [1],[2],[3],[4]

Though, it has been predicted that adverse climate conditions attributed to El Niño will begin to increase from the first month itself, nevertheless, the aftereffects will worsen by the end of the year. [1],[5] In fact, reports of the biggest outbreak of cholera in the history of Tanzania, drought in the South West Pacific, Central America and Southern Africa, floods in Paraguay, and risks of similar events in nations from South America, outbreak of dengue in Bangladesh, displacement of millions of people, and damage to the health infrastructure have been reported. [1],[2],[3]

The global need of the hour is to prevent unnecessary deaths and illnesses, and that can only happen if the policymakers decide to invest in strengthening their preparedness and response efforts. [2] The interventions in the form of strengthening of the disease surveillance mechanism, extending financial assistance to the nations, taking measures to improve the herd immunity through immunization, or vector controlling measures, establishing linkages with communities to encourage health promotion, improving water or sanitation facilities, maintaining logistics and medical supply chains, and ensuring access to the health services can deliver remarkable results. [1],[2],[3],[4]

In addition, the World Health Organization, has deployed specialized health emergency and technical personnel in high-risk nations, supported nations to develop an effective action plan to counter such emergencies, emphasized for the strengthening of the information management and health risk assessments, and introduced a mobile application based on the Early Warning and Response System to enable the real-time monitoring of the spread of communicable diseases and rates of malnutrition. [1],[2]

To conclude, the basic fact is that it may take many years to recover out of the consequences of El Niño in the absence of an adequate, effective, and timely preparedness and response. Thus, there is a great need to streamline the efforts and work in collaboration to prevent the exacerbation of the consequences.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1World Health Organization. El Niño threatens at least 60 million people in high-risk developing countries; 2016. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Feb 13].
2World Health Organization. WHO intensifies its support to the El Niño-triggered health emergency; 2015. Available from: . [Last accessed on 2016 Feb 11].
3Banu S, Guo Y, Hu W, Dale P, Mackenzie JS, Mengersen K, et al. Impacts of El Niño Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole on dengue incidence in Bangladesh. Sci Rep 2015;5:16105.
4Andersen LK, Davis MD. The effects of the El Niño southern oscillation on skin and skin-related diseases: A message from the International Society of Dermatology Climate Change Task Force. Int J Dermatol 2015;54:1343-51.
5Masuda S, Philip Matthews J, Ishikawa Y, Mochizuki T, Tanaka Y, Awaji T. A new approach to El Niño prediction beyond the spring season. Sci Rep 2015;5:16782.