Children, newborns and pregnant women are among the groups most vulnerable to climate changebut they are often forgotten in measures to prevent and respond to global warming, three agencies warn today. HIM in a call for urgent attention of these groups.
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The call of the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the United Nations Population Fund (FPNU) has been launched at the annual conference on climate change (COP28) which will take place in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) from November 30 to December 12.
The three organizations regret that the effects of the climate crisis on pregnant women and children have often been undervalued and that very few countries mention them in their response plans to the climate crisis.
“Global warming is an existential threat for all of us, but pregnant women, babies and children face some of its most serious consequences,” said WHO Deputy Director for Universal Health Coverage, Bruce Aylward.
The dangers of climate change for women and their children begin already during pregnancy, since phenomena such as heat waves can increase the risks of complications during childbirth, including abortions, premature births, as well as deaths of the child or mother after giving birththe agencies remember.
In the appeal they recall that many pregnant mothers in developing countries are dedicated to agricultural work and other tasks in which they risk excessive heat exposureswhich increases the health risks for them and their offspring.
After birth, newborns are extremely vulnerable to heat, as they depend on others for food, cooling or even shelter in the shade, making them especially vulnerable to high temperatures and other risks associated with global warming.
That global warming is therefore linked to increases in infant mortality, both by respiratory diseases as well as some transmitted by bacteria and viruses whose field of action is also growing with generalized increases in temperatures, such as cholera, malaria or dengue.
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“Climate change measures often ignore that children’s bodies and minds are especially vulnerable to pollution, deadly diseases and extreme weather,” said UNICEF deputy executive director Omar Abdi.
The appeal from UN agencies reiterates common demands such as a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, or financing programs to mitigate the effects of global warming, but also calls for specific measures that adapt to the needs of children. and pregnant. They also demand greater research into the specific effects of the climate crisis on the health of these vulnerable groups.