EL NIÑO IN THE AMERICAS
EL NIÑO IN THE AMERICAS: PROTECTING HEALTH AND INCREASING RESILIENCE - A SHORT COURSE
Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays running October 10 - 26, 2023, 11h00 a 12h30 (Uruguay) 10:00 - 11:30AM EST
Participants who attend at least 4 of 6 course sessions and pass a short exam will receive a certificate awarded by the Global Consortium for Climate and Health Education (GCCHE) and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI). The exam link starts on October 26 at 11:59 PM EDT and will close on October 28 at 11:59 PM EDT. Certificates will be awarded on November 2, 2023.
Moderate El Niño conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific, setting the stage for a surge in temperatures and disruptive weather and climate patterns across the Americas. With these conditions, health impacts are anticipated to result from changes in vector borne and zoonotic diseases, food and water insecurity and instability, exposure to extreme heat and air pollution and an increased risk for meteorological extreme events. Health systems are on the frontlines, and must respond in a timely and proactive fashion to protect human health.
The goal of this course is to equip federal, regional and local health systems planners, emergency planners and responders, public health officials, healthcare practitioners, the meteorological sector and others with the knowledge and tools needed to prepare for local and regional health-related impacts. This includes what can be anticipated in terms of meteorological changes and associated health impacts, best practices for management and response, and introduction to available decision making and risk management tools.
Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:
- Describe the anticipated meteorological impacts of ENSO in their region, and likely resulting health impacts.
- Explain how ENSO conditions may impact health through extreme temperatures, changes in vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, impacts on food and water security, poor air quality, and meteorological extreme events including flooding, landslides, drought and hurricanes.
- Develop an initial plan for local/regional/national response using available risk management and decision making tools and recommendations from authoritative health partners.
Following an initial introductory webinar, the course will consist of six bi-weekly (Tuesday and Thursday) live-virtual 75-minute sessions, offered in English and Spanish through live interpretation. Each session will consist of 40 minutes of “theory/foundation” followed by a case study. There will be a live question and answer which will be monitored by the program team and questions will be consolidated and addressed to expert lecturers. Resources such as frameworks and suggested readings will be provided to all course participants following each session. Video recordings will be available following each session for asynchronous view.
Introduction Webinar: October 5, 2023
Webinar on El Niño and the reduction of its impacts on the health sector: Forecast, best practices and recommendations
5 October 2023 | 11h00 a 13h00 (Uruguay)
Description: In response to the increasing of extreme conditions throughout Latin America and in support of the United Nations Global Initiative "Early Warning for All (EW4All)", the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education have joined forces to make available information, recommendations and share best practices to support decision-makers in governments, representatives of the health sector and the community in general, to take preventive and mitigation measures.
Objectives of the webinar:
- To provide information and tools for decision makers and technical teams.
- To share experiences and cases of good practices in health prevention-issues.
- Introduction to the course “El Niño in the Americas: Protecting Health and Promoting Resilience”.
Session 1: Drought, Food Production and Nutrition
Tuesday October 10 | 10:00 - 11:30 AM Eastern Time, New York City
Rodney Martínez Güingla, WMO Representative for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean
Julián Carrazón Alocén, Agricultural Officer at FAO - Sub-regional office for Mesoamerica
- Andrés Búcaro, M. Sc., Catholic Relief Services Agronomist specialized in Soil Sciences
Session Description: Droughts are the “silent disasters” as they don’t make headlines until the situation is critical. Crop losses from low or erratic rainfall can impact the livelihoods of subsistence farmers, increasing the risk of food insecurity, particularly in poor communities. Stronger and long-lasting droughts can affect even large crop production operations impacting the economy of families, communities or even countries. Solutions like basic irrigation systems together with water storage can go a long way in reducing these impacts, yet timely intervention is needed. This session will explore current regional drought forecasts through a lens on agriculture and nutrition, and present recommendations for action, management and response with available tools for decision making and risk management.
Session 2: Heat Extremes
Thursday October 12 | 10:00 - 11:30 AM Eastern Time, New York City
- Francisco Chesini, Ministry of Health of Argentina
- Tania K. Ita Vargas, MSc, Climate Analyst, National Meteorological and Hydrological Service
Session Description: ENSO is poised to amplify heat waves and regional temperatures across the Americas leading to widespread impacts on health, especially for vulnerable populations including children, pregnant women, elderly, those with comorbidities, and outdoor workers. Further, temperature extremes threaten to affect the functioning of healthcare systems with downstream consequences for dependent communities. However, with timely and proactive health system planning, health and social costs can be avoided. This session will explore current regional temperature forecasts and present recommendations for action, management and response with available tools for decision making and risk management.
Session 3: Water Quality and Security
Tuesday October 17 | 10:00 - 11:30 AM Eastern Time, New York City
- Patricia Segurado, Advisor, Water and Basic Sanitation, PAHO
- Salvador Ayala Pizarro, Department National Agency for Medical Devices, Innovation and Development, Institute of Public Health of Chile
Session description: ENSO impacts regional rainfall and therefore water security, quality and safety. Seasonal climate forecasts can be used by the health sector to anticipate where impacts may occur and facilitate the deployment of public health interventions to reduce the impacts of water borne diseases.
Session 4: Disasters and Disaster Risk Reduction
Thursday October 19 | 10:00 - 11:30 AM Eastern Time, New York City
José Marengo, Climatologist, General Coordinator for Research and Development of CEMADEN-National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters.
Carolina Portaluppi-Castro, Casa Grande University, UNDP consultant
Session Description: ENSO impacts the regional risk disasters, including hurricanes, flooding and landslides. The use of seasonal climate forecasts and early warning systems allow health systems to anticipate and prepare for such events, and reduce impacts on vulnerable communities and health infrastructure. This session will present recommendations for action, management and response with available tools for decision making and risk management and reduction.
Session 5: Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Tuesday October 24 | 10:00 - 11:30 AM Eastern Time, New York City
- Rachel Lowe, ICREA Research Professor, Leader of the Global Health Resilience Group, Director of Lancet Countdown in Europe
- Ángel G. Muñoz, PhD, Senior Researcher, Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS)
Session Description: ENSO impacts regional variability in temperature and precipitation, and therefore the distribution of disease vectors, such as mosquitoes, which carry human diseases including Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and more. Climate forecasts can be used to anticipate where diseases may occur and early warning systems can facilitate the deployment of necessary resources to prevent health impacts on vulnerable communities.
Session 6: Air Quality
Thursday October 26 | 10:00 - 11:30 AM Eastern Time, New York City
- Juan J Castillo, Air Quality and Health Regional Advisor, PAHO
- William Checkley, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Global Health, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Session Description: Fossil fuel combustion drives climate change by producing greenhouse gasses, but also directly harms human health by producing harmful air pollution, which causes over 8 million deaths annually, accounting for nearly 15% of worldwide deaths. Furthermore, ENSO is contributing to an increased frequency and intensity of wildfires and Saharan dust, each of which poses unique health risks. This session will explore key policy interventions to protect public health.