Switzerland: Climate change is increasing malaria infections, the executive director of the world’s biggest health fund said in Davos on Monday (January 16). Huge surges in malaria infections followed recent floods in Pakistan and cyclones in Mozambique in 2021, said Peter Sands, the executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Whenever you have an extreme weather event, it’s fairly common to have a surge of malaria, he said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos.
The increase in extreme weather events, and the resulting large pools of standing water that attract mosquitoes, are leaving poorer populations vulnerable.
He said climate change was also changing the geography of mosquitoes. The highlands of Africa, in Kenya and Ethiopia, are now succumbing to malaria because of a shift in the low temperatures that once made the area unsustainable for mosquitoes.
Mr. Sands runs the world’s largest global fund, which invests in fighting tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS in some of the poorest nations in the world.
The fund, which set a target of raising $18 billion, has so far raised $15.7 billion, the largest amount of money ever raised in global health.
Part of the shortfall, he said, was a billion dollar hit from currency fluctuations that affected donations.
Looking ahead, climate change is just one of the factors that could hamper efforts to eradicate the diseases, Mr. Sands said.
The war in Ukraine has led to a worsening of AIDS and tuberculosis. In middle income countries such as India, Pakistan and Indonesia, tuberculosis cases amongst the poorest populations are also rising.
With fears of a global recession rising, Sands said those countries would come under increased pressure. Mr. Sands further added,
I think the big concern from our perspective is what happens to health budgets in the 120 or so countries we are investing in. And even within those health budgets, how much is being taken up by COVID?
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.