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POLICY BRIEF: Rising Temperatures, Deadly Threat: Recommendations for Health Professionals in Ahmedabad

Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becoming increasingly frequent globally due to climate change. Extreme heat events already have had a significant impact in India, where summer temperatures are historically high. Although national programs in India exist to address many effects of climate change, the country has yet to implement strategies to adapt to increasing heat. Through the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and a partnership of organisations, Ahmedabad is the first Indian city to create a comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events.

Creating and maintaining collaborative systems within the different government departments (e.g., emergency response, emergency management, health agencies, and meteorological services) is essential to ensure streamlined coordination, create successful early warning communications, promote data sharing and health education, and identify service gaps, as a foundation for an effective early warning system before extreme heat events.

This report, Rising Temperatures, Deadly Threat: Recommendations for Health Professionals in Ahmedabad, suggests that urban health centers and link workers could be key to addressing heat vulnerability on the local level because of their direct access to the public and the long-term relationship of trust they have built. This existing infrastructure can be utilized to implement interventions aimed at reducing residents’ vulnerability to heat, thus strengthening the overall existing health system. Crafting targeted strategies that increase information sharing, communication between government departments and health professionals, heat-related illness surveillance, training and preparedness, and coordination is vital to increase vulnerable populations’ resilience to rising temperatures in India.

For further reading on Ahmedabad’s heat action plan, see below: