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Regional experts mull ways to mitigate effects of climate change on health

Laos will continue to work with its development partners and other groups to manage potential natural disasters as fears over the effects of global climate change continue to grow.

Climate change has affected sustainable socio-economic development and the environment in many countries, but particularly in developing countries.

Through support from the Asian Development Bank (AD B) for a regional technical assistance project, national health systems in Laos will be able to better prepare, coordinate, and respond to climate-i ntroduced health threats.

This was the thrust of a speech delivered by the Ministry of Health's Deputy Director General of the Sanitation and Health Promotion Department, Dr Kaysone Chounlamany, at a meeting to consider ways to strengthen resilience to climate change in the health sector in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, held in Vientiane on Friday.

“Health protection is one of the central justifications for action on climate change,” she said.

While uncertainties remain, there is sufficient evidence to justify strengthening the resilience of health systems, to slow and eventually halt human interference with the climate and associated damage to life-supporting ecosystems.

The aim of the meeting was to further raise awareness of climate change issues in the sub-region and discuss possible ways to mitigate the effects.

In her opening remarks, Dr Kaysone said the government was growing increasingly concerned that natural disasters could become a more regular occurrence because of global climate change.

“Global warming is causing changes in weather patterns. Countries around the world need to work together to tackle the concerns associated with climate change.”

Dr Kaysone said climate change had led to an increase in natural disasters, including droughts and floods that had occurred in some parts of Laos.

She said weather extremes had affected people's health and agriculture and the country's natural resources.

Forests, rivers and wetlands are under threat. This, in turn, threatens economic growth, and makes the realisation of poverty reduction targets increasingly difficult, according to the Sanitation and Health Promotion Department.

Laos has suffered significantly fewer natural disasters than its neighbours over the past century, but as the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, more is being done to protect the country in the coming years.

Despite being less affected than many other countries, this does not mean that Laos has not suffered. Floods, landslides and disease have all affected the people of Laos in recent years.

During the meeting, Dr Kaysone encouraged all participants to share their experiences, to ensure the national strategy is successful in addressing climate change issues.

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 30, 2016)


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