Heat stress mortality and desired adaptation responses of healthcare system in Poland

Abstract

Heat stress is one of the environmental factors influencing the health of individuals and the wider population. There is a large body of research to document significant increases in mortality and morbidity during heat waves all over the world. This paper presents key results of research dealing with heat-related mortality (HRM) in various cities in Poland which cover about 25% of the country’s population. Daily mortality and weather data reports for the years 1991–2000 were used. The intensity of heat stress was assessed by the universal thermal climate index (UTCI). The research considers also the projections of future bioclimate to the end of twenty-first century. Brain storming discussions were applied to find necessary adaptation strategies of healthcare system (HCS) in Poland, to minimise negative effects of heat stress. In general, in days with strong and very strong heat stress, ones must expect increase in mortality (in relation to no thermal stress days) of 12 and 47%, respectively. Because of projected rise in global temperature and heat stress frequency, we must expect significant increase in HRM to the end of twenty-first century of even 165% in comparison to present days. The results of research show necessity of urgent implementation of adaptation strategies to heat in HCS.

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Acknowledgments

The work presented here was supported by grant from the Polish National Centre for Research (NCN) No. 2011/01/B/ST10/06972 “Assessment of climate change impacts on population health in various regions of Poland, and predictions to the year 2100.”

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Correspondence to Anna Błażejczyk.

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Błażejczyk, A., Błażejczyk, K., Baranowski, J. et al. Heat stress mortality and desired adaptation responses of healthcare system in Poland. Int J Biometeorol 62, 307–318 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-017-1423-0

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Keywords

  • Heat stress mortality
  • UTCI
  • Healthcare system
  • Bioclimate change
  • Adaptation
  • Poland