The health impacts of climate change in rural and remote Australia

Friday, 22 September 2017

Climate change is increasing the intensity and variability of weather conditions, and this will have direct health impacts for people in rural and remote Australia.

The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), in collaboration with leading health stakeholders including the National Rural Health Alliance, has launched a campaign to highlight the impact that our changing climate has on health and wellbeing, both in Australia and beyond.

The body of evidence demonstrating the public health risks posed by climate change is substantial and growing. Changes associated with global warming, such as extreme weather events (including floods, storms and heatwaves), changes in the range and prevalence of infectious diseases, and threats to food and water security have direct and significant health impacts.

Rural and remote communities in Australia share these risks to health and wellbeing, and in some cases, are likely to bear the impacts disproportionately by virtue of their vulnerability, isolation and limited access to health services. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, of whom two-thirds live outside of capital cities, are considered acutely vulnerable to the health-related impacts of climate change.

Through coordinated effort, an opportunity exists to increase the resilience of rural and remote populations to the health-related impacts of climate change – such as through health promotion, capacity building, disaster and emergency preparedness, and creating a sustainable and climate-resilient healthcare sector.

Over the coming months, the Alliance will be working closely with CAHA and other health stakeholders to raise awareness of the issues associated with climate change and health, and to support the implementation of the Framework for a National Strategy on Climate Change.

For more information, you can download our Fact Sheet on the Rural Health Impacts of Climate Change or visit the Our Climate, Our Health campaign website at: http://www.ourclimate-ourhealth.org.au/