A group of medical colleges here have launched a "Centre for Climate Change and Health" to address the immediate and long term impacts of climate change on people's health, especially the poor and vulnerable in society, it was announced on Tuesday.
The centre will work in collaboration with the National Environmental Engineering Institute, Nagpur, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, the Indian Institute of Public Health, Ahmedabad and the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi.
It will create awareness among medical students and faculty, offer specialized courses on climate change and health, post-graduate scholarships and post-doctorate fellowships in the field.
"When narration of planetary menace due to climate change is getting engulfed in continental politics and technicalities of temperature and sea-level rise, the life-threatening diseases that are intensifying in their frequency and intensity are already taking the toll," said Rajendra Shende, the Mentor of the new Centre and Chairman of TERRE Policy Centre.
He said the direct damage to health is estimated by World Health Organisation to be between $2-4 billion per annum by 2030.
Besides, there would be impact on social, environmental and economic costs due to damage to health which would be much more and affect the GDP growth of each nation, warned Shende, a former Director of UNEP.
"Costs to the countries with weak health infrastructure - mostly in developing countries - will weaken them further unless assistance is given to prepare them for the response," he added.
The launch coincided with the 70th World Health Day celebrated last week and other prominent speakers who addressed a panel discussion on 'Impacts of Climate Change and Public Health' organized by Maharashtra Institute of Technology-World Peace Institute, included (a recorded message by) WHO Director (Public Health and Environment) Maria Neira and IITM's Gufran Beig,
The Centre will deploy smart technologies like IoT, Big Data analytics and robotics for a1cademics and and field research on health and would be part of the Smart Campus Cloud Network, of TERRE Policy Centre.