Emerging heat-related climate change influences; a public health challenge to health care practitioners and policy makers: Insight from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Current climate trends of extreme temperature and humidity during summer present a public health dilemma in Zimbabwe and other developing countries. National and local governments have defined roles to protect the health of populations under their jurisdictions as stipulated in relevant policies. The involvement of public health practitioners in policy development and management of heat-related illnesses is vital for the protection of the public, particularly vulnerable groups. The current role of health providers in developing countries regarding climate change impacts on health is considered suboptimal. Focus group interviews with public health practitioners and policy makers in the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe showed that officials lacked knowledge and awareness regarding heat-related impacts on health, particularly in relation to differences in individual susceptibility and currently employed heat adaptation and coping mechanisms.