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Tran K.V.,Emory University | Azhar G.S.,Indian Institute of Public Health | Azhar G.S.,Ahmedabad Heat and Climate Study Group | Nair R.,Indian Institute of Public Health | And 11 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2013

Extreme heat is a significant public health concern in India; extreme heat hazards are projected to increase in frequency and severity with climate change. Few of the factors driving population heat vulnerability are documented, though poverty is a presumed risk factor. To facilitate public health preparedness, an assessment of factors affecting vulnerability among slum dwellers was conducted in summer 2011 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Indicators of heat exposure, susceptibility to heat illness, and adaptive capacity, all of which feed into heat vulnerability, was assessed through a cross-sectional household survey using randomized multistage cluster sampling. Associations between heat-related morbidity and vulnerability factors were identified using multivariate logistic regression with generalized estimating equations to account for clustering effects. Age, preexisting medical conditions, work location, and access to health information and resources were associated with self-reported heat illness. Several of these variables were unique to this study. As sociodemographics, occupational heat exposure, and access to resources were shown to increase vulnerability, future interventions (e.g., health education) might target specific populations among Ahmedabad urban slum dwellers to reduce vulnerability to extreme heat. Surveillance and evaluations of future interventions may also be worthwhile.

Kakkad K.,Smt Scl General Hospital | Barzaga M.L.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Wallenstein S.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Azhar G.S.,Indian Institute of Public Health | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Environmental and Public Health | Year: 2014

Health effects from climate change are an international concern with urban areas at particular risk due to urban heat island effects. The burden of disease on vulnerable populations in non-climate-controlled settings has not been well studied. This study compared neonatal morbidity in a non-air-conditioned hospital during the 2010 heat wave in Ahmedabad to morbidity in the prior and subsequent years. The outcome of interest was neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions for heat. During the months of April, May, and June of 2010, 24 NICU admissions were for heat versus 8 and 4 in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Both the effect of moving the maternity ward and the effect of high temperatures were statistically significant, controlling for each other. Above 42 degrees Celsius, each daily maximum temperature increase of a degree was associated with 43% increase in heat-related admissions (95% CI 9.2-88%). Lower floor location of the maternity ward within hospital which occurred after the 2010 heat wave showed a protective effect. These findings demonstrate the importance of simple surveillance measures in motivating a hospital policy change for climate change adaptation - here relocating one ward - and the potential increasing health burden of heat in non-climate-controlled institutions on vulnerable populations. © 2014 Khyati Kakkad et al.

Knowlton K.,Natural Resources Defense Council | Knowlton K.,Columbia University | Knowlton K.,Ahmedabad Heat and Climate Study Group | Kulkarni S.P.,Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation | And 27 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2014

Recurrent heat waves, already a concern in rapidly growing and urbanizing South Asia, will very likely worsen in a warming world. Coordinated adaptation efforts can reduce heat's adverse health impacts, however. To address this concern in Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India), a coalition has been formed to develop an evidence-based heat preparedness plan and early warning system. This paper describes the group and initial steps in the plan's development and implementation. Evidence accumulation included extensive literature review, analysis of local temperature and mortality data, surveys with heat-vulnerable populations, focus groups with health care professionals, and expert consultation. The findings and recommendations were encapsulated in policy briefs for key government agencies, health care professionals, outdoor workers, and slum communities, and synthesized in the heat preparedness plan. A 7-day probabilistic weather forecast was also developed and is used to trigger the plan in advance of dangerous heat waves. The pilot plan was implemented in 2013, and public outreach was done through training workshops, hoardings/billboards, pamphlets, and print advertisements. Evaluation activities and continuous improvement efforts are ongoing, along with plans to explore the program's scalability to other Indian cities, as Ahmedabad is the first South Asian city to address heat-health threats comprehensively. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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