188.8.131.52 Individual-level responses
The effectiveness of warning systems for extreme events depends on individuals taking appropriate actions, such as responding to heat alerts and flood warnings. Individuals can reduce their personal exposure by adjusting clothing and activity levels in response to high ambient temperatures and by modifying built environments, such as by the use of fans, to reduce the heat load (Davis et al., 2004; Kovats and Koppe, 2005). Weather can partially determine cultural practices that may affect exposure.
184.108.40.206 Adaptation in health systems
Health systems need to plan for and respond to climate change (Menne and Bertollini, 2005). There are effective interventions for many of the most common causes of ill-health, but frequently these interventions do not reach those who could benefit most. One way of promoting adaptation and reducing vulnerability to climate change is to promote the uptake of effective clinical and public-health interventions in high-need cities and regions of the world. For example, health in Africa must be treated as a high priority investment in the international development portfolio (Sachs, 2001). Funding health programmes is a necessary step towards reducing vulnerability but will not be enough on its own (Brewer and Heymann, 2004; Regidor, 2004a, b; de Vogli et al., 2005; Macintyre et al., 2005). Progress depends also on strengthening public institutions; building health systems that work well, treating people fairly and providing universal primary health care; providing adequate education, generating demand for better and more accessible services; and ensuring that there are enough staff to do the required work (Haines and Cassels, 2004). Health-service infrastructure needs to be resilient to extreme events (EEA, 2005). Efforts are needed to train health professionals to understand the threats posed by climate change.