Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Malaysia health policy adaptation toward climate change

Daud Abdul Rahim

Occupational and Environmental Health Sector, Ministry of Health Malaysia


Climate change is one of the significant and important challenges in the 21st century and inevitably affects the basic requirements for health. Each year globally, about 3.5 million people die from malnutrition, 2.2 million from diarrhoea, 800,000 from causes attributable to urban air pollution, and 60,000 from extreme weather events. Climate change brings out new challenges in controlling few diseases including vector borne disease, food waterborne diseases and other emerging infectious diseases and this inadvertently need extra cost in managing the cases. Dengue fever is among the important diseases that has been proven to have correlation with climate change .There is also a possibility of regression in the progress made by the global public health community against many diseases.

Public health has long history in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating strategies, policies and programmes to manage the risks of climate-relevant health outcomes. Adaptation will help populations prepare for changes that could increase the incidence, seasonality or geographic range of climate-relevant health outcomes or that make their control more difficult. Understanding the extent to which current public health and health care policies and programmes are effective, and the reasons for limits to effectiveness, is a first step in understanding what modifications are needed to address the risks of a changing climate. Projections of where, when and how health burdens could be modified in response to changes in the mean and variability of climate. 

Malaysia agrees on the importance of health response to climate change. Well-designed adaptation measures may produce major health gains. Malaysia needs additional policy, technical, capacity building and financial support to protect health from climate change .The development of Health - National Adaptation Plan on Climate Change is in due time .