Climate change: cutting the good by the root?

vegetation 2019_

(Sergio Souza, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Luiza Merigo Santa Rosa, a second year medical student and Local Coordinator within IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


It is known that by altering the native vegetation of a given biome, we can cause a hydrographic, climatic and even the faunistic imbalance of that region. (BORK.C. 2015). In recent years, environmental damage from anthropogenic actions has unbalanced the  ecological interactions, favoring the transmission of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as Malaria, Dengue and Leishmaniasis even in non-tropical regions.(OMS. 2015).

According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), between 2000 and 2016, Brazil lost 7.5% of its forests. This change in the vegetation cover has been repercussions in several ways, until some determinants of the biological cycles of NTDs, such as rainfall index and temperature.

This is because the reduction of vegetation decreases the natural moisture from the plants (evapotranspiration), besides hindering the water drain, making it a potential disease focus.The PBMC (Brazilian Panel of Climate Change), provides that these factors will expected to rise by 2040 to approximately 10% and 2 ° C respectively, revealing a negative outlook on the future. (ASSAD, L. 2016, ARTAXO, P. 2018,BORK, C. 2015, PAULA, R. 2018).

In “Investing to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases,” the OMS points out that the number of dengue cases has increased by 30% in half a century, including in subtropical countries such as France and the United States. In China, more than 40 thousands cases of dengue fever were diagnosed in 2014 – one of the worst outbreaks in the country; thus demonstrating the alarming however neglected effect of climate change on the entire planet.(OMS. 2015, ASSAD, L. 2016).

I believe that in addition to the health strategies already used to combat NTDs – for example campaigns to combat dengue – we must also pay attention in the other aspects that determine these diseases, so that the health actions are specific and resolutive; because from the moment the individual receives the appropriate information, he begins to understand his social role, in which is capable of changing the health and disease process locally and globally.

These are important factors: economic conditions, education, politics, culture, and even geographic factors; which are indirectly addressed in the fifteenth UN goal of 2030 (protecting and restoring terrestrial ecosystems by managing them sustainably); which in addition to the preservation of fauna and flora, seeks harmony with human activities, without giving up ecological diversity or our health. (ONU. 2015).

References

ARTAXO, P. Desmatamento vai aquecer clima do planeta mais que o estimado. Jornal da USP. São Paulo. 2018. Disponível em:https://jornal.usp.br/ciencias/desmatamento-vai-aquecer-clima-do-planeta-mais-que-o-estimado/. Acesso em: 11 jan. 2019.

ASSAD, L. Relações perigosas: aumento de temperatura e doenças negligenciadas. Revista ciência e cultura. vol.68 no.1 São Paulo Jan./Mar. 2016.

BORK, C.K. Projeções de temperatura e precipitação para detecção de
mudanças climáticas na Bacia do Rio Taquari-Antas, RS. 2015. Trabalho de Conclusão de Curso (TCC em engenharia ambiental e sanitária)- Centro de Engenharias, Universidade Federal de Pelotas.

PAULA, R. País perdeu 7,5% de suas florestas entre 2000 e 2016. Amazônia notícia e informação.  2018. Disponível em: https://amazonia.org.br/2018/11/pais-perdeu-75-de-suas-florestas-entre-2000-e-2016/. Acesso em: 14 jan. 2019.

Organização das Nações Unidas. Conheça os novos 17 Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável da ONU. ONU. 2015. Disponível em: https://nacoesunidas.org/conheca-os-novos-17-objetivos-de-desenvolvimento-sustentavel-da-onu/. Acesso em: 11 jan. 2019.

World Health Organization. Investing to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases.Switzerland: OMS, 2015. p.11- 33.

About the author

Luiza Merigo Santa Rosa is a Local Coordinator within IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar. She is 19 years old. She was born in Curitiba-PR / BR and she is in the second year of medicine. She is a member of the Family Medicine and Community League and she participates in the Unicesumar Scientific Initiation Project. Her passion for medicine is in its minutia and delicacy, whose art, with the help of other sciences, allows us to discover the mysteries behind this fantastic machine that is the human body.

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