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Extreme heat straining health systems: WHO


By AP
Published : 19 Jul 2023 09:49 PM | Updated : 19 Jul 2023 09:50 PM

The extreme heat in the northern hemisphere is putting an increasing strain on healthcare systems, hitting those least able to cope the hardest, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The WHO said the heat often worsens pre-existing conditions, saying it was particularly concerned about those with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and asthma.

Millions of people across three continents are enduring a sustained spell of dangerous heat Wednesday as temperature records tumble.

"Extreme heat takes the greatest toll on those least able to manage its consequences, such as older people, infants and children, and the poor and homeless," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"It also puts increased pressure on health systems," he told a press conference.

"Exposure to excessive heat has wide-ranging impacts for health, often amplifying pre-existing conditions and resulting in premature death and disability."

He said the WHO was working with the World Meteorological Organization, its fellow Geneva-based UN agency, to support countries in developing hot-weather action plans to coordinate preparedness and reduce the impacts of excessive heat on health.