- January 22, 2016
- Posted by: emobile
- Category: News
There is a prediction of El Nino by World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners .According to WHO there will be ‘a major global increase in health consequences of emergencies this year due to El Niño’. What is El Nino?
‘El Niño is a warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific Ocean which affects rainfall patterns and temperatures in many parts of the world but most intensely in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America which are particularly vulnerable to natural hazards’ they said .They further elaborate by pointing to different climatic changes that occur in places ‘typically some places receive much more rain than normal while others receive much less’.
The damaging effects of El Nino are presently noticeable in Ethiopia to Haiti to Papua New Guinea and they believe ‘ the impact on public health is likely to continue throughout 2016, even after El Niño winds down,” said Dr. Richard Brennan, Director of WHO’s Emergency Risk Management & Humanitarian Response Department. “To prevent unnecessary deaths and illnesses, governments must invest now in strengthening their preparedness and response efforts,” they emphasized.
The devastating effect of El Nino can cause severe drought, flooding, heavy rains and temperature rises leading to ‘food insecurity and malnutrition, disease outbreaks, acute water shortages, and disruption of health services. The health implications are usually more intense in developing countries with fewer capacities to reduce the health consequences. The current El Niño from 2015 to 2016 is predicted to be the worst in recent years, and comparable to the El Niño in 1997-1998 which had major health consequences worldwide. In Eastern Africa, as a result of the El Niño in 1997-1998, WHO found that rainfall patterns were unusually heavy and led to serious flooding and major outbreaks of malaria, cholera and Rift Valley Fever’.
According to UN figure ‘60 million people will be impacted by El Niño this year with many suffering health consequences.
Different impacts across the world
The adverse weather effects of El Niño are expected to peak in January 2016 and wind down by April, the health impacts will last throughout 2016 says WHO. “It could take years to recover without an adequate, efficient and timely preparedness and response to El Niño,” said Dr Brennan.
El Niño is causing heavy rains and flooding in Eastern Africa. El Nino is associated to cholera epidemic as it is affecting Tanzania where more than 12 000 cases are reported and this is envisaged to spread to other countries as they will experience disease outbreaks if adequate planning is not in place. The Tanzanian cholera outbreak is the largest since 1997-1998, which had over 40 000 reported cases, says WHO.
WHO emphasizes that ‘important steps can be taken to prevent and reduce the health effects of El Niño, including: disease surveillance; controlling the transmission of diseases (e.g. vaccinations) and the vectors that spread diseases; mobilizing communities to promote health and hygiene practices; improving water and sanitation services; strengthening logistics and medical supply chains; providing emergency medical care and maintaining access to health services; and effective coordination ‘