1 Central Department of Statistics, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal
2 Nepal Environmental and Scientific Services, Kathmandu, Nepal
3 Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital, Jorpati, Kathmandu, Nepal
In the context of climate change scenario in Nepal with rise in average surface air temperature, an ecological time series study has been conducted to examine and assess the effect of climate related variables on some specific disease burdens covering areas of all the eco-belts of Nepal.
The study is conducted to examine several health effects associated with climate sensitive variables separately between the three eco-belts of Nepal and estimate environmental burden of diseases that can be attributed to temperature as the main climate variable.
The study is based upon daily meteorological data including temperature, rainfall, relative humidity and wind speed collected from the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Kathmandu and hospitalizations including water-borne (enteric fever, diahrreoal diseases and hepatitis), vector-borne (malaria, dengue, encephalitis, leishmaniasis and filarisis), urinary system (chronic kidney diseases, urinary tract infections and renal failure) and heart diseases (ischemic heart disease including angina pectoris, cardiovascular arrest, cardiac failures and other cardiovascular diseases) and mortality (all cause and diseases specific) are collected from the leading hospitals of the study area for 5 years in between 14 April 2009 and 13 April 2014.
Results of generalized linear modelling accounting distributed lag effects showed varied health effects between eco-belts and hospitalization/death types such as 2.1% to 7.3% rise in the considered hospitalizations per 1°C rise in temperature, 0.9% to 8.2% rise in all cause deaths per 1°C change in temperature below or above 20°C, -8.7% to 2.4% change in hospitalizations/deaths per 1 mm rise in rainfall, -1.6% to 7.3% change in hospitalizations/deaths per 1% rise in relative humidity and -23.6% to 35% change in hospitalization/deaths per 1 m/s rise in wind speed which can be attributed to many significant differences that prevail between the eco-belts of Nepal.
Even though health effects are due to many factors, climate conditions are significant factors in affecting health of people and climate change is bound to affect the health burden of Nepalese people for which Nepal needs suitable preparedness and adaptation policies to counter and minimize the hazards of climate change in years to come.
Keywords: Attributable burden, Attributable fraction, Climate change, Distributed lag effects, Environmental burden of diseases, Statistical modelling.
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