Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Novel Coronna Virus Epidemic - update and mapping


According to the World Health Organisation Coronna Viruses (C0V) are: 

a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). 

A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. 

Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. 

Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness...

The current Novel Coronna Virus (COVID-19) was first reported on 31 December 2019.

Worldwide there have been between 64,518 confirmed cases* of novel coronavirus and 1,383 reported deaths. The fatality rate is currently 2.3%.

Although highly infectious it appears that relatively quick responses from public health authorities around the world is limiting its spread.

Only 586 cases of COVID-19 to date have been diagnosed outside the country of virus origin. Two deaths have been recorded.

There have been no deaths from this viral infection in Australia.

Australian Government Dept. of Health:

As at 06:00 hrs on 14 February 2020, we have confirmed 15 cases of novel coronavirus in Australia: 

5 in Queensland 
4 in New South Wales 
4 in Victoria 
2 in South Australia 

6 of the earlier cases have recovered. 

The others are in a stable condition.

All of these cases came into contact with the virus outside of Australia.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical MedicineThe Conversationmodelling suggests that the 2019-nCoV outbreak could peak in mid to late February if current trends continue.

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine mapping at https://vac-lshtm.shinyapps.io/ncov_tracker/:

20 January 2020



14 February 2020
NOTE 

* According to the World Health Organisation China is now reporting clinically diagnosed cases in addition to laboratory-confirmed cases, which has increased the number of recorded COVID-19 infections in that country by 13,332 people as of 13 February 2020.


Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn't have to suffer the effects of prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke. How good is that?



Kirribilli House, Sydney, situated on Kirribilli Point with an uninterrupted view eastwards across Sydney Harbour is an official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia.

Prime Minister & MP for Cook Scott Morrison moved into this large, harbour-side residence in September 2018.

I believe there is air conditioning in rooms on the bedroom floor, but not in the well-ventilated rooms on the ground floor.

By June 2019 it appears that Scotty From Marketing had his rent-free residence set up just the way he liked it, courtesy of the taxpayer dollar.

The Daily Telegraph, 9 February 2020:

Taxpayers also coughed up more than $3000 during the 2018-19 summer for four Dyson fans but can be reassured they came with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, ensuring the Morrisons weren’t bothered by harmful bushfire smoke particles.

Apparently such an air filter which retails at $799 per unit will automatically purify a whole room.

  • Automatically detects and reports air quality levels in real time on PM2.5, PM10, VOC and NO2
  • Activated carbon filters remove gases. Sealed HEPA filters capture 99.95% of ultrafine particles such as allergens and pollutants
  • ...delivers over 290 litres per second of smooth, yet powerful airflow – circulating purified air throughout the whole room
  • Automatically senses, captures and projects – then reports to your Dyson Link app
  • Adjustable oscillation angle from 45° to 350°, to help project purified air around the whole room
  • Purifies all year round. Cools you in summer
  • Purifies without the draught
  • Night-time mode Monitors and purifies using its quiet settings, with a dimmed display
  • Remote control
Seems Morrison had his primary residence well kitted out for the predicted 2019 severe fire season months before the bushfires actually struck.

The fire season commenced for me on 17 August 2019 but didn’t start to really kick off in a big way until around four weeks later, when I was living under this thick bushfire smoke below for weeks on end….

The Daily Examiner


Unlike Scott Morrison, I live in a small rented unit with no air conditioning and on an income so low that I can only dream of owning even one Dyson air purifier.

So when the hot, thick smoke from the bushfires seeped through the edges of my home’s window and door frames, when I could not clear this smoke as opening any window or door just let in more smoke, when my eyes began to sting, my throat hurt, my head ache, my already compromised respiratory system struggled and the pain in my tight chest became so bad that I thought I might be having a heart attack – I had no way of pressing a remote control button to relieve my distress with a Dyson.

Bushfire smoke blew over me to varying degrees for four months, reducing any remaining sense of wellbeing and restricting my ability to move outside the confines of my home, while Prime Minister Morrison called for patience and calm and his deputy prime minister told the media; "Yes, the smoke is a problem but smoke, as it always does, will blow away."

The smoke did eventually go away, but my ability to breathe easily most of the time has not returned in its absence and I fear it never will.

But that’s OK – after all Scott Morrison can play backyard cricket on Kirribilli House lawns, sip wine of an evening on the verandahs or stroll outside to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks – safe in the knowledge that he can return to the air conditioning and the four air purifiers I helped pay for.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Regulation, policy oversight and funding of aged care services are predominantly the role of the Australian Government - under three successive Coalition governments needs are not being met


Regulation and policy oversight of aged care services are predominantly the role of the Australian Government. It funds residential aged care, home care and home support, with state, territory and local governments also funding and/or delivering some of these services directly. However, most services are delivered by non-government providers such as private-for-profit, religious and charitable organisations.

Government subsidises a significant portion of the cost of providing aged care, but clients and residents are expected to contribute where they can and may be charged fees and payments by service providers.

In 2018-19 there were est. 3.9 million people 65 years of age or older in the Australian population.

Of these older people:

236, 213 were in permanent residential care;
64,117 had received respite care;
24,137 had received transition care or short-term restorative care;
1,072 national ATSI flexible age care program places were operational;
826,335 were receiving home support; and
131,534 were receiving home care packages. 
[Productivity Commission, REPORT ON GOVERNMENT SERVICES 2020]

That is est. 1.2 million older Australians who are receiving some form of government funded care.

Government recurrent expenditure on aged care services was $20.1 billion in the 2018-19 financial year or $4,874 per older person, with the federal government providing 98.2 per cent of the funding.

That low annual level of expenditure per person may be one of the reasons for this…..

The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 2020:

The time it takes for older Australians to enter a nursing home after being assessed as needing residential care has blown out almost 50 per cent in two years, while waiting times for the highest level of home care package are 34 months.

The Productivity Commission reports that the median "elapsed time" between getting approval from an aged care assessment team (ACAT) and going to a nursing home was 152 days in 2018-19. This is up from 121 days in 2017-18 and 105 days in 2016-17.

In New South Wales, the median wait time was 143 days in 2018-19 and 124 days in Victoria. Across Australia, almost 42 per cent of older people entered a nursing home within three months of getting ACAT approval. Almost 60 per cent of people entered a nursing home within nine months.

The Productivity Commission explained the waiting time was influenced by the availability of places as well as an older person's "preference to stay at home for as long as possible". The commission noted people may choose to try to access formal help at home or more family help, instead of taking up a nursing home place.

It said there may also be delays if people sold their family home before going into residential care.

The Productivity Commission's annual report on government services follows the aged care royal commission's recent scathing assessment of the sector. In its interim report, the royal commission slammed the aged care system as "sad and shocking", "diminish[ing] Australia as a nation". It also comes amid pleas from the aged care sector for $1.3 billion in urgent financial assistance to keep nursing homes open around the country.

The Productivity Commission's report, released today, said the median time between ACAT approval and the offer of a home care package ranged from seven months for a level one package, to 34 months for a level four (highest needs) package in 2018-19.

The commission said there was no comparable data on home care package "elapsed times" for previous years, due to a change to the approval process in 2017. Federal government data released before Christmas showed more than 112,000 people were waiting for home care. The royal commission singled out the home care wait list for urgent attention last October, noting "many people die waiting".

According to the Productivity Commission, in 2018, 84.4 per cent of those who received a formal aged care service in the home over the previous six months said they were satisfied with the quality of help they received. This was down from 89.2 per cent in 2015.

The report also found that 34 per cent of people over 65 who live at home and were classified as "in need of assistance" said their needs were not "fully met"…..

Monday, 3 February 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison & his merry band of cost cutters decided to save $9.2 million a year by cutting off CapTel phones for the profoundly deaf. Luckily this new front in Morrison's ongoing war on the poor & vulnerable was something of a fizzer


"The Commonwealth Government has awarded American company, Concentrix Services a contract to deliver the National Relay Service (NRS). One of the first things Concentrix is contracted to do is to shut down the CapTel handset service on 1 February 2020." [Deaf Forum of Australia, July 2019]

ABC News, 31 January 2020: 

Thousands of hearing-impaired Australians could face a return to 1980s technology from today after the Federal Government cancelled a deal to support text-captioning telephones. 

Phones with CapTel captioning display words on a large screen in near real time, so deaf and hearing-impaired users can make calls and see the responses. 

But in a decision criticised by disability advocates, the phones will not work as of February 1, after the Department of Communications declined to renew the service provider's contract with the National Relay Service (NRS).  
A new company won the contract. [Concentrix Services Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the SYNNEX Corporation]

It will force users to take up alternative options, with many choosing to revert back to what are known as TTY teletypewriter phones — technology first introduced in the 1980s. 

For Christine O'Reilly, the CapTel phone changed her life. Ms O'Reilly's hearing has been deteriorating since childhood and now at 62, she is profoundly hearing impaired. 

"When I received the CapTel I was so overjoyed I burst into tears," she said..... 

Critics say the decision has come down to one thing: money. 

The cost of the NRS has blown out in recent years, from $26.3 million in 2015-16, to $31.2 million in 2017-18...... 

The new NRS contract awarded last June provides for $22 million per year over three years. 

Until recently there were more than 3,500 CapTel handsets distributed across Australia. The Department of Communications estimates about 1,000 are still active. 

"I certainly acknowledge any transition of this kind is challenging, particularly for older Australians who may not be as familiar with technology," 

Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said. "We've retained a team of trainers who've been going to meet individually with CapTel users to brief them on their alternatives." .....

It is expected many users will switch to TTY teletypewriter phones, which have a small two-line screen for text above the number pad. 

"We're having to go backwards in time, and everyone else can get the latest iPhone," said Dr Alex Harrison, a profoundly deaf veterinarian in Adelaide. 

"[I feel] enormously frustrated and discriminated against," he said. 

Dr Harrison said the CapTel phone had revolutionised his practice, allowing him to easily make up to 10 calls a day. 

Making a call on a TTY phone is much more complicated. "If I want to make a phone call on the TTY, I have to call a 133 number first … and they'll put me through to an operator," he explained. 

Once you do that, you may be put on hold or told you are in a queue to make a call. 

On January 7, the department acknowledged wait times to get through were unacceptable. 

"We understand and acknowledge community disappointment about these issues and can assure you that we are focused on resolving these concerns as a priority," it said. 

To address the wait times, the relay service provider Concentrix is currently hiring and training additional staff. 

New staff took their first calls just prior to Christmas and more staff will commence during the rest of January. 

Other options offered by the Department of Communications are internet-based call captioning and apps designed to work on mobile phones and tablets. 

But users said many of the online options were much slower and less user-friendly, requiring them to fill in multiple fields just to initiate a phone call. 

"The other options are far too slow. They're primitive," Ms O'Reilly said. 

 And advocates point out the average age of CapTel phone users is more than 80. 

"For an elderly person who's not tech savvy, [these options] can be very intimidating, and often they can't do it. Some of these people are 80 or 90, and they really struggle with that," Dr Harrison said..... [my annotation in red]

"It is indeed a big shock to many Australians, and myself, who rely and need the Captel handset. It seems to me that this section of people with a hearing loss have been sacrificed in a big way so that the TTY can be ‘re-introduced’ and then plunge those who went deaf later in life and whom can speak, right back in the dark ages. It is also a direct insult to the intelligence of the people who worked long and hard to get Captel up and running in Australia. Many of our members have spoken of their dismay and disgust, particularly being isolated and the loss of their independence. In the long run, this move will cost the Australian government much more than it does now." [Deaf Forum of Australia, July 2019]


Thankfully, Captioned Telephone International, the company whose contact the Morrison Government refused to renew and, its president Rob Engelke, have bigger, kinder hearts than either Prime Minister Scott Morrison or Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher, as Mr. Engelke has committed the company to maintaining the CapTel system for those Australians who would otherwise lose their handsets by arranging for the routing of all calls through the company's U.S. captioning centres, while it investigates long-term options based in Australia.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Chromium-6: bushfire temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees can endanger human health long after the flames have gone out


"Fire-induced oxidation of Fe oxide-bound Cr(III) may represent a largely unexplored, yet globally-significant pathway for the natural formation of hazardous Cr(VI) in soil." [Burton E.D. el al, April 2019]

Echo NetDaily, 15 January 2020:

Scientists from Southern Cross University have made a startling discovery about the lethal threat of soils scorched by bushfires. 

The team, led by Professor Ed Burton, has found the naturally occurring metal chromium 3 can be converted by extreme bushfire heat into the highly toxic and cancerous chromium 6. 

Professor Ed Burton of Southern Cross Geoscience is looking at the levels of a toxic element in bushfire affected soil. 

Chromium 6 is the substance spotlighted by renowned American environmentalist Erin Brockovich, who blew the whistle on high concentrations in the water supply of her home town in southern California.

Professor Burton’s breakthrough research has confirmed bushfire temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees can endanger human health long after the flames have gone out. 

‘We’ve seen bushfires create conditions in the surface soil that transform the safe, naturally occurring chromium-3 into the toxic, cancer-causing chromium-6,’ Professor Burton said. 

‘Chromium-6 can cause lung cancer and leach into waterways.’ 

Professor Burton, an expert on the geochemistry and mineralogy of soils, sediments and groundwater systems, said frontline firefighters were immediately at risk but the contamination of water within catchment areas posed a wider threat. 

‘We know that firefighters have higher incidences of chromium in their urine and are more susceptible to cancer than other groups....

See the following peer-reviewed articles concerning the carcinogen Chromium-6:

Burton, E.D., Choppala, G., Karimian, N., Johnston, S.G. (2019) A new pathway for hexavalent chromium formation in soil: Fire-induced alterations of iron oxides. Environmental Pollution 247, 618-625; and 

Burton, E.D., Choppala, G., Vithana, C., Hockmann, K., Johnston, S.G. (2019) Chromium(VI) formation via heating of Cr(III)-Fe(III)-(oxy)hydroxides: A pathway for fire-induced soil pollution. Chemosphere 222, 440-444.

It should be noted that wildfires can also affect and possibly increase the mobility of other minerals naturally found in the soil. 

Initial research suggests that an example of this may be the carcinogen, arsenicAdditionally, past research suggests the potential of higher mercury content in freshwater fish after wildfire events.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

The North Coast Public Health Unit is urging people in Yamba NSW to look out for measles symptoms, after a resident contracted the infectious disease


Northern NSW Health District, community announcement, 6 December 2019:

Measles on the NSW North Coast – Yamba


The North Coast Public Health Unit is urging people in Yamba to look out for measles symptoms, after a resident contracted the infectious disease.
People who visited the following areas on these dates may have been exposed:
  • Thursday 28 November, Friday 29 November, Monday 2 December or Tuesday 3 December – anyone who travelled on bus routes 1, 2, or 4 in Yamba
  • Saturday, 30 November – Maclean Golf Course between 8.00am to 1.15pm
  • Saturday, 30 November – Yamba Fair Shopping Centre, including Coles, butchers, newsagent between 2.00pm to 3.00pm
  • Sunday, 1 December – Yamba Bowling Club between 5.30pm to 7.00pm
  • Tuesday, 3 December – Yamba Fair Shopping Centre around 4.00pm.
Acting Director of North Coast Public Health Unit, Greg Bell, said measles is highly infectious among people who are not fully immunised.
“Measles symptoms include fever; sore eyes, a cough, and a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head to the rest of the body,” Mr Bell said.
“Anyone who was in or has visited the locations listed should watch for symptoms until 21 December. These locations pose no ongoing risk to the public.
“It can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear following exposure to a person with measles.
“If you develop symptoms of measles, please arrange to see your GP and phone ahead to alert them before arriving at the GP clinic.
Measles is highly contagious and is spread in the air through coughing or sneezing by someone who is unwell with the disease. Vaccination is your best protection against this extremely contagious disease.
The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is a safe and highly effective protection against measles, and is available for free for those born during and after 1966 from your GP.
“If you are unsure whether you have had two doses, it is safe to have another dose,” Mr Bell said.
Protecting children from potentially deadly diseases is a key priority for the NSW Government, which has invested approximately $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.
For more information on measles, visit: 
[my yellow highlighting]

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's cruel war on asylum seekers continues.....


On 4 December 2019 the Leader of the Morrison Government in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, moved to suspend standing orders to consider the for the remainder of the day.

According to the Government; The Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 (the Bill) amends the Migration Act 1958 (the Migration Act) to repeal the provisions inserted by Schedule 6 to theHome Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2019 (the medical transfer provisions). As the medical transfer provisions do not provide for any return or removal mechanism, the Bill also amends the Migration Act to extend existing powers in relation to persons transferred to Australia under the medical transfer provisions to allow for their removal from Australia or return to a regional processing country once they no longer need to be in Australia for the temporary purpose for which they were brought. 

Thus Morrison wanted to ensure doctors did not retain more say in the medical treatment of offshore asylum seeker detainees and intended to remove those detainees already transferred to Australia in the last eight months as soon as possible. He and his government saw this as compatible with Australia's human rights obligations.

At 10.08 am Cormann moved that; That a motion to provide for the consideration of the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 may be moved immediately and determined without amendment or debate.

This motion passed 38 to 36 with a majority of 2.

By 11.21am the bill was passed 37 to 35 with a majority of 2.

Those voting in support of the bill were:

Abetz, Eric (Lib-Tas) Antic, Alexander (Lib-SA) Askew, Wendy (Lib-Tas).
Bernardi, Cory (Ind-SA) Bragg, Andrew J (Lib-NSW) Brockman, Slade (Lib-WA).
Canavan, Matthew J (Lib-Qld) Cash, Michaelia C (Lib-WA) Chandler, Claire (Lib-Tas) Colbeck, Richard (Lib-Tas) Cormann, Mathias (Lib-WA).
Davey, Perin (Nats-NSW) Duniam, Jonathon (Lib-Tas).
Fawcett, David J (Lib-SA) Fierravanti-Wells, Concetta (Lib-NSW).
Hanson, Pauline (ON-Qld) Henderson, Sarah M (Lib-Vic) Hughes, Hollie (Lib-NSW) Hume, Jane (Lib-Vic).
Lambie, Jacqui (JLN-Tas).
McDonald, Susan (LNP-Qld) McGrath, James (LNP-Qld) McKenzie, Bridget (Nats-Vic) McMahon, Samantha (Lib-NT) Molan, A "Jim" (Lib-NSW).
O'Sullivan, Matthew A (Lib-WA).
Paterson, James (Lib-Vic).
Rennick, Gerard (LNP-Qld) Reynolds, Linda (Lib-WA) Roberts, Malcolm (ON-Qld) Ruston, Anne (Lib-SA) Ryan, Scott M (Lib-Vic)
Scarr, Paul (LNP-Qld) Seselja, Zdenko (Lib-ACT)  Smith, Dean A (Lib-WA) Stoker, Amanda J (LNP-Qld).
          Van, David (Lib-Vic).

These are the politicians who (along with their counterparts in the House of Representatives) returned Australian society to the days when, as a mattter of policy, offshore detainees were refused medical transfer to Australia unless they were on the brink of death. 

In the past this policy resulted in avoidable detainee deaths such as that of Hamid Kehazaei - it will likely do so again.

As soon as the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Act 2019 receives assent, Prime Minister Morrison will in all probability quickly move to return the 179 medevac detainees back to Nauru and Manus Island.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Australian cardiologist Arnagretta Hunter: “On the coast of NSW this week we know there are more respiratory illnesses, heart attacks and strokes as a consequence of the terrible air pollution from the fires"


The Guardian, 14 November 2019:


Bushfire smoke blankets the morning sky in Glen Innes, NSW, on 11 November. Respiratory illnesses are rising as a result of air pollution from this week’s fires, cardiologist Arnagretta Hunter says following the release of the latest Countdown report on climate change and health worldwide. Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

The federal government’s lack of engagement on health and climate change has left Australians at significant risk of illness through heat, fire and extreme weather events, and urgent national action is required to prevent harm and deaths, a global scientific collaboration has found.

On Thursday, international medical journal the Lancet published its Countdown report, a multi-institutional project led by University College in London that examines progress on climate change and health throughout the world.
Its first two assessments were published in 2017 and 2018, with annual assessments continuing until 2030, consistent with the near-term timeline of the Paris climate agreement. Findings relating to Australia were tracked and published by the Medical Journal of Australia.
Australia was assessed across 31 indicators divided into five broad sections: climate change impacts, exposures and vulnerability; adaptation, planning and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co-benefits; finance and economics; and public and political engagement.
The report found that while there had been some progress at state and local government levels, “there continues to be no engagement on health and climate change in the Australian federal parliament, and Australia performs poorly across many of the indicators in comparison to other developed countries; for example, it is one of the world’s largest net exporters of coal and its electricity generation from low-carbon sources is low”.
“As a direct result of this failure, we conclude that Australia remains at significant risk of declines in health due to climate change, and that substantial and sustained national action is urgently required in order to prevent this … This work is urgent.”“We also find significantly increasing exposure of Australians to heatwaves and, in most states and territories, continuing elevated suicide rates at higher temperatures,” wrote the authors, led by Associate Professor Paul Beggs of Macquarie University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Spokeswoman for Doctors for the Environment Australia, Dr Arnagretta Hunter, agreed Australia was poorly prepared for the health challenge of climate change.
“Doctors around Australia are already seeing multiple health effects from climate change,” Hunter, a cardiologist, said.

“On the coast of NSW this week we know there are more respiratory illnesses, heart attacks and strokes as a consequence of the terrible air pollution from the fires. Doctors see the mental health effects of drought in rural communities. Patterns of infectious diseases are changing.
“Average summer temperatures in Australia have risen by 1.66C in the past 20 years, with the intensity of heatwaves rising by a third. And with the increasing temperatures over summer we know there has been increased hospital admissions with ill health. Mortality rates are also affected.”

In 2014, Melbourne experienced temperatures over 41C from 14 to 17 January, as well as 167 excess deaths and a new record set for the highest number of calls for ambulance services ever received in a day, she said. Hunter described Australia as the developed country with the most serious vulnerability to climate change through heat, fire, water shortages and extreme weather events.
“Doctors for the Environment Australia joins the loud chorus across Australia calling for the federal government to acknowledge the risk and act in proportion to the magnitude of the threat,” she said. [my yellow highlighting]

Read the full article here.

The 2019 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change, 13 November 2019, can be found here.
  

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Australian Medical Association formally declares climate change a health emergency


The Guardian, 3 September 2018: 

The Australian Medical Association has formally declared climate change a health emergency, pointing to “clear scientific evidence indicating severe impacts for our patients and communities now and into the future”. 

The AMA’s landmark shift, delivered by a motion of the body’s federal council, brings the organisation into line with forward-leaning positions taken by the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association and Doctors for the Environment Australia. 

The American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians recognised climate change as a health emergency in June 2019, and the British Medical Association the following month declared a climate emergency and committed to campaign for carbon neutrality by 2030. 

The World Health Organisation has recognised since 2015 that climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century, and argued the scientific evidence for that assessment is “overwhelming”. 

The AMA has recognised the health risks of climate change since 2004. Having now formally recognised that climate change is a health emergency, the peak organisation representing doctors in Australia is calling on the Morrison government to promote an active transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy; adopt mitigation targets within an Australian carbon budget; promote the health benefits of addressing climate change; and develop a national strategy for health and climate change. 

The AMA president, Tony Bartone, argues the scientific evidence is clear. “There is no doubt that climate change is a health emergency. The AMA accepts the scientific evidence on climate change and its impact on human health and human wellbeing,” he says. 

Bartone says the climate science suggests warming will affect human health and wellbeing “by increasing the environment and situations in which infectious diseases can be transmitted, and through more extreme weather events, particularly heatwaves”. 

“Climate change will cause higher mortality and morbidity from heat stress,” the AMA president says. “Climate change will cause injury and mortality from increasingly severe weather events. Climate change will cause increases in the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Climate change will cause food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs. Climate change will cause a higher incidence of mental ill-health. 

“These effects are already being observed internationally and in Australia.” 

Bartone told Guardian Australia the motion adopted by the federal council had followed an ongoing discussion among stakeholders, and medical practitioners within the AMA membership....... 

 The latest official data released last week confirms that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise in Australia. National emissions increased by 3.1m tonnes in the year to March to reach 538.9m tonnes, a 0.6% jump on the previous year. 

Emissions in Australia have increased every year since the Abbott government repealed a national carbon price after taking office in 2013.