High temperatures in the northern hemisphere have a negative impact on health. “Extreme heat puts the greatest strain on health systems, while the elderly, infants, children, the poor and the homeless are the least able to cope,” WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus said in a statement.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said extreme heat in the northern hemisphere is adding to the strain on health systems.

Ghebreyesus made an assessment of current health issues at the weekly WHO press conference. Recalling that WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday released a report on child vaccination rates following Covid-19, Ghebreyesus noted that some countries are seeing a promising recovery in vaccination following the Covid-19 process.

Recalling that the number of children who received vaccines in 2022 is 4 million more than the previous year, Ghebreyesus said: “This is encouraging news, but large gaps remain in vaccination. Global and regional conditions on this issue mask persistent and severe inequalities, especially in low-income countries. Last year, more than 20 million children did not receive one or more of the vaccines they should have received. Nearly 15 million children have been deprived of all vaccines,” he said.

Pointing out that many countries in the northern hemisphere have experienced extreme heat due to El Niño and climate change, Ghebreyesus made the following assessment: “We saw the highest temperature recorded two weeks ago. While extreme heat damages the elderly, infants, children, the poor and the homeless, who may be the least able to cope, it also puts a strain on health systems. Exposure to extreme temperatures has far-reaching health implications. This can lead to relapses of pre-existing diseases, as well as death and disability.” He said.

Ghebreyesus also said they support countries’ temperature health action plans in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization to coordinate preparations and reduce the health impacts of extreme heat.

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