Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Redesigning healthcare systems to meet the health challenges associated with climate change in the twenty-first century

Kai-Lit Phua, PhD


In the twenty-first century, climate change is emerging as a significant threat to the health and well-being of the public through links to the following: extreme weather events, sea level rise, temperature-related illnesses, air pollution patterns, water security, food security, vector-borne infectious diseases, and mental health effects (as a result of extreme weather events and climate change-induced population displacement). This article discusses how national healthcare systems can be redesigned through changes in its components such as human resources, facilities and technology, health information system, and health policy to meet these challenges.


climate change, healthcare systems, impact, redesign

Full Text:



Spickett JT, Katscherian D, McIver L: Health impacts of climate change in Vanuatu: An assessment and adaptation action plan. Glob J Health Sci. 2013; 5(3): 42-53.

Hanna EG, McMichael AJ, Butler CD: Climate change and global public health: Impacts, research, actionParker R, Sommer M (eds.): Routledge Handbook in Global Public Health. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011: 133-144.

Basu R: High ambient temperature and mortality: A review of epidemiologic studies from 2001 to 2008. Environ Health. 2009; 8: 40-52.

Karl TR, Meehl GA, Miller CD, et al. (eds.): Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate: Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. A report by the US Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. Washington, DC: Department of Commerce, NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, 2008.

Tweedie N: The world's first climate change refugees. The Telegraph. December 7, 2009. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

MacFarquhar N: Refugees join list of climate change issues. New York Times. May 28, 2009. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

Kravchenko J, Abernethy AP, Fawzy M, et al.: Minimization of heatwave morbidity and mortality. Am J Prev Med. 2013; 44(3): 274-282.

Analitis A, Katsouyanni K, Biggeri A, et al.: Effects of cold mortality: Results from 15 European cities within the PHEWE project. Am J Epidemiol. 2008; 168(12): 1397-1408.

Environmental Protection Agency: Climate change and air quality. No date. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

Johnston FH, Hanigan IC, Bowman DMJS: Pollen loads and allergic rhinitis in Darwin, Australia: A potential health outcome of the grass-fire cycle. EcoHealth. 2009; 6(1): 99-108.

D’Amato G, Baena-Cagnani CE, Cecchi L, et al.: Climate change, air pollution and extreme events leading to increasing prevalence of allergic respiratory diseases. Multidiscip Respir Med. 2013; 8(1): 12.

McCornick PG, Pasch J. Water and health: fragile sources. In Parker R, Sommer M (eds.): Routledge Handbook in Global Public Health. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011: 145-153.

BBC News: Massive melting of Andes glaciers. January 23, 2013. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

Kjellen M, McGranahan G: Informal Water Vendors and the Urban Poor. London: International Institute for Environment and Development, 2006.

Rochlin I, Minivaggi DV, Hutchinson ML, et al.: Climate change and range expansion of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) in northeastern USA: Implications for public health practitioners. PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e60874.

Phua KL: Post-disaster victimization: How survivors of disasters can continue to suffer after the event is over. New Solutions. 2008; 18(2): 221-231.

Somers GT, Drinkwater EJ, Torcello N: The GP as first responder in a major medical emergency. Aust Fam Physician. 1997; 26(12): 1406-1409.

Baack S, Alfred D: Nurses’ preparedness and perceived competence in managing disasters. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2013; 45(3): 281-287.

Gibbs T, van Alphen D: Impact of Hurricane Luis on the health services of Antigua and Barbuda. World Health Stat Q. 1996; 49(3-4): 200-2003.

Turkey to build own hospital ship for disasters. Hurriyet Daily News. December 15, 2003. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

Air Quality in NSW. Environment and heritage. NSW Government, Australia. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

United Nations University: Water Security and the Global Water Agenda: A UN-Water Analytical Brief. Hamilton, Ontario: UNUINEWH, 2013.

Rainwater harvesting for boiler feedwater and using water three times. In Greening Our Hospitals: Water. Melbourne: Department of Health, 2011.

Polonsky JA, Ronsse A, Ciglenecki I, et al.: High levels of mortality, malnutrition, and measles, among recently-displaced Somali refugees in Dagahaley camp, Dadaab refugee camp complex, Kenya, 2011. Conflict and Health. 2013; 7(1).

North CS, Pfefferbaum B: Mental health response to community disasters: A systematic review. JAMA. 2013; 310(5): 507-518.

Hannigan J: Disasters Without Borders. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2012.

Hudson P, Wouter Botzen WJ, Czajkowski J, et al.: Risk Selection and Moral Hazard in Natural Disaster Insurance Markets: Empirical Evidence from Germany and the United States. Working Paper # 2014-07. Philadelphia: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, October 2014. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

Climate and Health Alliance. Health sector ill-prepared for climate change. July 16, 2012. Available at Accessed November 10, 2014.

Phua KL, Barraclough S: Towards a green public health. Environ Health. 2009; 9(1-2): 80-85.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Journal of Emergency Management