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Temperature Rise In India Due To Climate Change Poses Health Risks To Pregnant Women: Study

The study sheds light on the disproportionately higher risks faced by women and children, particularly concerning health outcomes and socioeconomic vulnerabilities

Temperature Rise In India Due To Climate Change Poses Health Risks To Pregnant Women: Study
Preterm Delivery, Gestational Hypertension, and Pre-Eclampsia are some of the health risks pregnant women face due to climate change

New Delhi: Temperature rise in India due to climate change poses serious health risks to pregnant women, including preterm delivery, gestational hypertension, and pre-eclampsia, according to a new government-backed study. Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, speaking at the launch of the report that was sponsored by her department, said climate change and its impact are not a standalone crisis.

She said,

This is the first Indian study from the perspective of agroecological zones in India; this has never been done in India before and that is why it is significant.

Ms Irani said,

There has to be a narrative around the agroecological zones in the country…. India has to come up with legacy climate solutions that India has to offer and also study what the global north is facing in terms of climate change and how we can provide solutions.

Also Read: 2023-24 El Nino Among Five Strongest On Record, Will Continue Fuelling Heat In 2024: WMO

One significant finding of the study is the heightened vulnerability of pregnant women to the adverse effects of prolonged heat exposure.

With India projected to experience a rise in annual temperatures by 1.7 to 2.2 degrees Celsius by 2030, the number of individuals exposed to extreme heat conditions is on the rise.

The study said,

This increase in temperature poses serious health risks to pregnant women, including preterm delivery, gestational hypertension, and pre-eclampsia.

The study was conducted by MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Karmannya.

Also Read: Providing Farmers With Better Forecasts Helps Them Adapt To Climate Change: Study

This new study sheds light on the disproportionately higher risks faced by women and children, particularly concerning health outcomes and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Analysing various factors ranging from health risks to livelihoods, the report underscored the urgent need for targeted interventions to mitigate these effects.

It also emphasised the intersectionality of climate change and gender, highlighting how social and economic development play a crucial role in exacerbating vulnerabilities among women and children.

While acknowledging gender as a driver of vulnerability, the study found that most State Action Plans for Climate Change (SAPCC) in India inadequately address these gendered impacts.

To address these pressing issues, the study offered a set of recommendations aimed at mainstreaming gender-transformative approaches in climate action at both national and sub-national levels.

Also Read: Climate Change Is Real And It Has Reached Goa: Minister Mauvin Godinho

These recommendations include incorporating gender-sensitive measures in State Action Plans for Climate Change, enhancing targets and allocations for schemes targeting women and children to accelerate development goals, and conducting longitudinal cohort studies to inform context-specific solutions for mitigating climate-related hazards.

The study also emphasised the need to strengthen healthcare infrastructure to protect pregnant women and children from heat-related illnesses, implementing behaviour change communication strategies to raise awareness about climate-sensitive diseases among women and children, and establishing gender-sensitive emergency shelters and hotlines in areas impacted by extreme weather events.

It also underscored the need for addressing indoor air pollution and ensuring access to clean cooking facilities to safeguard the health of women, particularly pregnant women.

It also called for promoting resilience-building initiatives for women, including infrastructure enhancement and livelihood diversification, as well as strengthening the capacity of female healthcare workers to respond to climate-related health emergencies.

Additionally, the study highlighted the urgency of taking concrete actions to protect the most vulnerable populations from the ravages of climate change. While the focus is on women and children, the study acknowledges the importance of addressing the needs of other vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and disabled, in climate resilience efforts.

Also Read: How Is Climate Change Impacting Our Health?

Noting that the climate crisis presents profound gendered impacts, with women and children bearing a disproportionate burden of its consequences, the study said women are 14 times more likely than men to die in disasters, according to UNDP, and they often face higher risks and greater burdens due to their existing roles, responsibilities, and cultural norms, particularly in situations of poverty.

Children, too, are significantly affected by climate hazards, with their bodies and minds particularly vulnerable to climate-related impacts, the report said.

Agriculture, a critical livelihood source for women in rural India, is severely impacted by climate-driven crop yield reductions, exacerbating food insecurity and nutritional deficiencies, it said. Addressing the multidimensional implications of climate change on women and children across different agro-ecological zones of India requires a differential and intersectional understanding, the study said.

This entails adopting a comprehensive approach to analyze the differential impacts on women and children’s mental and physical health, food and nutrition security, and migration and work patterns, it said, adding

Likewise, empowering children and youth enables meaningful participation in developing equitable climate action, especially regarding decisions and actions that affect them. Overall, understanding and addressing the differential impacts of climate change on women and children is essential for achieving just and equitable climate outcomes.

(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 in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. 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 populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation 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 well-being, 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 pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual 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.

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