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PAHO warns Caribbean at risk of heatwaves

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is warning people in the Caribbean that they are at risk for heat strokes and even death as a result of the heatwave being experienced globally.

It said that the situation could worsen between July and August, “with adverse impact on human health” and is urging regional countries to be prepared, “due to the impact that this could have on peoples' health, including the risk of death.

“Weather forecasts for North America, Central America and the Caribbean predict heat waves during the summer of 2019. This could increase drought-induced stress, lead to forest fires and have harmful effects on human health.”

PAHO said due to the situation, it has developed a guide to help regional countries formulate contingency plans to address heat waves.

“This guide provides recommendations that the health sector and meteorological agencies can implement to prepare for and better respond to this threat, promote health, prevent the adverse effects of heatwaves, treat affected people and save lives.”

PAHO said the guide stresses that heatwave contingency plans should be able to determine the extent of the threat, with alert activation procedures, a description of roles and functions, and intra- and inter-agency coordination mechanisms.

It also highlights that countries should strengthen the epidemiological surveillance of heat-related morbidity and mortality, the capacity of health services (training of staff, improvements in the design of new hospitals, and equipping of existing hospitals in high-risk areas), and enhance the actions of local authorities, the media, and communities in terms of inter-agency response measures, prevention measures, and self-care.


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