Potential health sector losses due to climate change reach USD 21.6 billion

Jakarta – The Ministry of Health warns that the impact of climate change on the health sector is already evident. In the 2021 NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) Roadmap, the potential loss to the health sector due to changes in the number of climate-related diseases during 2021-2050 in Indonesia is estimated at 1.86 per cent of the national GDP (gross domestic product) or USD 21.6 billion.

The risk of disease incidence, disease transmission, and disease infection is increasing, including dengue haemorrhagic fever, diarrhoea, and malaria. This is certainly a burden on public health and the national health system.

The Ministry of Health’s Director of Environmental Health Anas Maruf said that the health sector is downstream of the impacts of climate change. “The impact can be direct or indirect. The impact is not only on physical health, but also mental health,” he said.

From research cited in the Ministry of Health report together with the United Nations Agency for Children (Unicef), the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), and Speak in 2021, it is stated that the increase in temperature that occurs due to climate change can increase the rate of virus replication, shorten the extrinsic incubation duration (EIP), and accelerate the rate of mosquito development.

Ministry of Health Regulation No. 35/2012 on Guidelines for Identifying Health Risk Factors due to Climate Change, has identified four priority groups of diseases due to climate change. The four disease groups include vector-borne diseases (malaria and dengue), water-borne diseases (diarrhoea), and air-borne diseases (pneumonia, acute respiratory infections and tuberculosis).

Another priority group of diseases due to climate change is malnutrition, which includes stunting (failure to thrive due to chronic malnutrition), wasting (underweight or weight loss below child growth standards), and weight loss, and underweight (weight below child growth standards).

So far, the government has designated five climate-related diseases for further study, namely tuberculosis, pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, and dengue. (Hartatik)

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