REPORT: Ahmedabad Heat Action Plan 2014
Rising to the challenge of climate change, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is working to prepare residents against dangerous heat waves. This publication, the 2014 Heat Action Plan is an updated version of the first comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events in India launched in Ahmedabad last year. The Plan creates immediate and longer-term actions to increase preparedness, information-sharing, and response coordination to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations.
This ground-breaking project, created by the AMC in partnership with an international coalition of health and academic groups, aims to implement three key strategies:
- Building Public Awareness and Community Outreach on the risks of heat waves and practices to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses. Disseminating public messages through media outlets and informational materials such as pamphlets and advertisements on heat stress prevention, with tips for health protection during extreme heat events, are key to building awareness.
- Initiating a Simple Early Warning System to alert residents of predicted high temperatures, and coordinating an inter-agency response effort when extreme heat hits. The AMC will create formal communication channels among the governmental agencies, the Met Centre, health officials and hospitals, emergency responders, local community groups, and media outlets ahead of forecasted high temperatures to efficiently communicate and respond during extreme heat events.
- Capacity Building Among Health Care Professionals to recognise and respond to heat-related illnesses, particularly during extreme heat events. Such training would focus on primary medical officers so they can offer heat-specific advice (diagnosis of symptoms and recommended treatment, including self-monitoring and hydration) to their medical staff, including how to counsel patients to prevent and reduce mortality and morbidity, and when to increase staffing to handle potential increases in patient demand, and developing tracking protocols on how to report heat-related illness and deaths. Link workers and other community health workers would also be trained to recognise heat-health dangers and offer prevention tips for outreach and community-based tracking for heat illness in slum communities.
New efforts being launched as part of the Plan this year include expanded public outreach, including redesigned awareness building ads and posters and placement of LED scrolling boards to announce the temperature and heat-health alerts; additional efforts to distribute fresh drinking water during extreme heat days; and increasing medical training to recognize and treat patients suffering from heat-related illnesses. The project’s knowledge partners also announced a media fellowship to increase public messaging and a request for proposals for non-governmental organisations to redouble outreach and communication with the city’s most at-risk communities.
For further reading on Ahmedabad’s heat action plan, see below:
- Project homepage: Deepening and Expanding Heat Health Action in India
- Inside Story: Addressing heat-related health risks in urban India: Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan
- Youtube video: Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan
Image credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT