BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization emphasized that climate change is a significant and emerging threat to public health, especially in lower income populations and tropical/subtropical countries. However, people in Asia and Africa were the least likely to perceive global warming as a threat. In Vietnam, little research has been conducted concerning the perceptions of effects of climate change on human health.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions on climate change and its impact on human health among people in Hanoi.
DESIGN: We applied a combined quantitative and qualitative approach to study perceptions on climate change among people in Hanoi. A total of 1,444 people were recruited, including 754 people living in non-slum areas and 690 people living in slum areas of Hanoi. A structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data on their perceptions. In a parallel qualitative study, two focus group discussions and 12 in-depth interviews (IDs) were carried out involving 24 people from both slum and non-slum areas.
RESULTS: The majority of the respondents in the study had heard about climate change and its impact on human health (79.3 and 70.1% in non-slum and slum areas, respectively). About one third of the respondents reported that members of their family had experienced illness in the recent summer and winter compared to the same seasons 5 years ago. The most common symptoms reported during hot weather were headaches, fatigue, and dizziness; hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases were also reported. During cold weather, people reported experiencing cough, fever, and influenza, as well as pneumonia and emerging infectious diseases such as dengue and Japanese encephalitis.
CONCLUSIONS: The observed high level of awareness on the links between climate change and human health may help to increase the success of the National Prevention Program on Climate Change. Moreover, understanding the concerns of the people may help policy makers to develop and implement effective and sustainable adaptation measures for Hanoi City as well as for Vietnam as a whole.
2014. Vol. 7, 23025- p.