Local actions to health risks of heatwaves and dengue fever under climate change: Strategies and barriers among primary healthcare professionals in southern China

Lianping Yang, Chaojie Liu, Peng Bi, Sotiris Vardoulakis, Cunrui Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Climate change and extreme weather poses significant threats to community health, which need to be addressed by local health workforce. This study investigated the perceptions of primary healthcare professionals in Southern China on individual and institutional strategies for actions on health impacts of climate change and the related barriers. Methods: A mixed methodological approach was adopted, involving a cross-sectional questionnaire survey of 733 primary healthcare professionals (including medical doctors, nurses, public health practitioners, allied health workers and managers) selected through a multistage cluster randomized sampling strategy, and in-depth interviews of 25 key informants in Guangdong Province, China. The questionnaire survey investigated the perceptions of respondents on the health impacts of climate change and the individual and institutional actions that need to be taken in response to climate change. Multivariate logistic regression models were established to determine sociodemographic factors associated with the perceptions. The interviews tapped into coping strategies and perceived barriers in primary health care to adapt to tackle challenges of climate change. Contents analyses were performed to extract important themes. Results and conclusion: The majority (64%) of respondents agreed that climate change is happening, but only 53.6% believed in its human causes. Heat waves and infectious diseases were highly recognized as health problems associated with climate change. There was a strong consensus on the need to strengthen individual and institutional capacities in response to health impacts of climate change. The respondents believed that it is important to educate the public, take active efforts to control infectious vectors, and pay increased attention to the health care of vulnerable populations. The lack of funding and limited local workforce capacity is a major barrier for taking actions. Climate change should be integrated into primary health care development through sustainable governmental funding and resource support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109688
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume187
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

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