Human exposure to extreme heat is one of the principal and most manageable impacts of climate on human health. Yet, every year worldwide, tens of thousands of people die as a result of avoidable heat-induced health consequences and countless others experience reduced labor productivity, physiological stress and ill health. The IPCC predicts with high confidence, that the observed trend of longer lasting, more frequent, more intense, and earlier onset heat waves will continue into the future. This situation requires the global health community to aggressively confront this recognized risk.
Many countries and cities worldwide have developed heat action plans or heat health early warning systems, but these efforts are only connected in an ad-hoc fashion, use a broad range of non-standardized tools, methods, and approaches, and lack a clear mechanism to learn from each other in order to more rapidly advance health protection. To address this gap and accelerate heat health protection, the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN) was launched in June 2016, by the WMO/WHO joint office for Climate and Health and the NOAA Climate Program Office.
GHHIN is envisioned to be an independent, voluntary, member driven forum of scientists, professionals, and policymakers focused on enhancing and multiplying the global and local learning and resilience-building for heat health that is already occurring. GHHIN seeks to serve as a catalyst, knowledge broker, disseminator of good practices, and a forum for facilitating exchange and identifying needs. GHHIN will promote evidence-driven interventions, shared-learning, co-production of information, synthesis of priorities and capacity building to empower actors to take more effective and informed life-saving preparedness and planning measures.
GHHIN is working toward several activities in 2018. The first Global Heat Health Synthesis report will be published to synthesize the state of science and practice to monitor, predict, and address extreme heat risks to human health, and the first GHHIN Global Forum will be held to bring together the community of experts and practitioners to share experience, inform a global common agenda, strengthen the network, and formally launch GHHIN. This presentation serves as an overview, status update, and invitation to become involved in GHHIN.