Climate crisis biggest threat to future of global health

The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has researched what the next 25 years will hold for global health, finding that climate crisis is the biggest threat.

Having polled health professionals across six continents and 79 countries, the society found that 43 per cent believe the climate crisis will be the most pressing global health challenge for the next 25 years, with drug-resistance (including antimicrobial resistance and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis) and emerging epidemics as the second and third top concerns.

Presented at the 11th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health (ECTMIH), the study also revealed that 92 per cent of people surveyed believe that governments and health bodies are not doing enough to prepare for the impact of the climate crisis on health, and 87 per cent said governments are not investing enough to tackle all the big health challenges over the next 25 years.

Within the climate crisis, mass migration, new emerging diseases and the health and nutrition implications of climate-ravaged food supplies were highlighted as the biggest challenges to global health.

According to those polled, the next 25 years will also bring an increase in prominence and impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer (83 per cent), drug-resistant strains of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections (76 per cent), and emerging infectious diseases (66 per cent).

Tamar Ghosh, chief executive of the society, said: “There can be no doubt we are facing multiple, serious health challenges, but it’s easy to forget that we have both made huge progress in the last 25 years and have the opportunity to take yet more great leaps forward in the next quarter of a century. We need to do everything we can to support the global health community so we can make the positive changes we need to ensure everyone benefits and the health divide within and between different countries is reduced.”

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