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A gaping research gap regarding the climate change impact on health in poor countries

European Journal of Epidemiology

Springer Netherlands

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      Climate change and health: on the latest IPCC report.

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        Health in climate change research from 1990 to 2014: positive trend, but still underperforming

        Background Climate change has been recognized as both one of the biggest threats and the biggest opportunities for global health in the 21st century. This trend review seeks to assess and characterize the amount and type of scientific literature on the link between climate change and human health. Design We tracked the use of climate-related terms and their co-occurrence with health terms during the 25 years since the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, from 1990 to 2014, in two scientific databases and in the IPCC reports. We investigated the trends in the number of publications about health and climate change through time, by nature of the health impact under study, and by geographic area. We compared the scientific production in the health field with that of other sectors on which climate change has an impact. Results The number of publications was extremely low in both databases from 1990 (325 and 1,004, respectively) until around 2006 (1,332 and 4,319, respectively), which has since then increased exponentially in recent years (6,079 and 17,395, respectively, in 2014). However, the number of climate change papers regarding health is still about half that of other sectors. Certain health impacts, particularly malnutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), remain substantially understudied. Approximately two-thirds of all published studies were carried out in OECD countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), predominantly in Europe and North America. Conclusions There is a clear need for further research on the links between climate change and health. This pertains particularly to research in and by those countries in which health will be mostly affected and capacity to adapt is least. Specific undertreated topics such as NCDs, malnutrition, and mental health should gain the priority they deserve. Funding agencies are invited to take note of and establish calls for proposals accordingly. Raising the interest in this research area in young scientists remains a challenge and should lead to innovative courses for large audiences, such as Massive Open Online Courses.
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          Mapping the environmental and socioeconomic coverage of the INDEPTH international health and demographic surveillance system network.

          The International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and their Health (INDEPTH) has produced reliable longitudinal data about the lives of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) through a global network of health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) sites. Since reliable demographic data are scarce across many LMICs, we examine the environmental and socioeconomic (ES) similarities between existing HDSS sites and the rest of the LMICs. The HDSS sites were hierarchically grouped by the similarity of their ES conditions to quantify the ES variability between sites. The entire Africa and Asia region was classified to identify which regions were most similar to existing sites, based on available ES data. Results show that the current INDEPTH network architecture does a good job in representing ES conditions, but that great heterogeneities exist, even within individual countries. The results provide valuable information in determining the confidence with which relationships derived from present HDSS sites can be broadly extended to other areas, and to highlight areas where the new HDSS sites would improve significantly the ES coverage of the network.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            ISNI 0000 0001 2190 4373, GRID grid.7700.0, Heidelberg University, ; Heidelberg, Germany
            Contributors
            ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3201-4058, rainer.sauerborn@urz.uni-heidelberg.de
            Journal
            Eur J Epidemiol
            Eur. J. Epidemiol
            European Journal of Epidemiology
            Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
            0393-2990
            1573-7284
            1 June 2017
            1 June 2017
            2017
            : 32
            : 9
            : 855-856
            28573342
            5662676
            258
            10.1007/s10654-017-0258-7
            © The Author(s) 2017

            Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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            © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

            Public health

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