Climate and weather have a powerful impact on human health and well-being. It becomes apparent as a change in annual, seasonal or monthly means of climate variables like the temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events resulting in heat waves and floods over a period of time. Health can be directly affected by the changing climatic variables like heat stress or high wind speed. On the other hand, climate change influences indirectly the increased incidence of many vector borne and water borne diseases, and deterioration in nutritional health due to loss of food security.
Manipur with projected increase in surface temperature and intensity of extreme events like heavy precipitation, the incidence of vector borne diseases like Malaria, Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis have been experienced frequently. This may be related to the changing climatic scenario happening around the world. Extreme high air temperatures also contribute directly to the rise in the levels of ozone and other pollutants such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides by vehicles emitted into the air that increase the severity of cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Pollen and other allergen levels are also higher in extreme heat.
The people of the state experienced extreme precipitation in 2017 whereby, continuous flash flood has resulted into uncontrolled runoff which have overwhelm water and sewage treatment plants and septic fields, contaminating drinking water and food crops. This extreme weather event has also lead to health hazards especially to the children and the elderly. As a consequence of these events there is a possibility of untreated water and contaminated food causing gastrointestinal illness and other hazardous effect to human health. Extreme rainfall and rising temperatures foster the growth of molds and fungi, particularly in the wake of receding floodwaters, resulting in increasing rates of respiratory illnesses among the people.
Manipur state is susceptible to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The dataset of maximum temperature variation observed during 2007 – 2017 shows an increasing trend. Based on the relative humidity and temperature the transmission windows (TWs) of Malaria may remain open for at least for 7-9 months in a year for most parts of Manipur. The erratic rainfall causes huge destruction on agriculture sector and it has also increase the frequency and intensity of flood in the state.
The incidence of the Malaria, Dengue and Japanese Encephalitis are climate sensitive largely because of the carrier mosquito whose habitat is largely linked to surface temperature, rainfall, relative humidity and wind velocity. Tamenglong district has the maximum malaria cases in the state followed by Churachandpur district. Malaria cases shows a downward trend in the incidence of the vector borne diseases due to the better health infrastructure, preparedness and awareness amongst the people of the state as well as departmental intervention. However, as per the report of Health Department, incidence of the cases of Japanese encephalitis & Dengue are on the rise in the state. Adoption of preventive measures of Japanese Encephalitis and Dengue are critical as these diseases have caused serious morbidity and mortality in recent times across the state. The occurrence of Dengue and Japanese Encephalitis are related to subtle change in climatic conditions that favor the breeding and proliferation of their vectors.
Waterborne diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis, dysentery, and others caused by micro- organisms are some climate-dependant infectious diseases that are likely to change in occurrence with disease exposure in the state due to frequent flash flood occurrence in the state. Despite remarkable improvements in access to safe water supplies, diarrhoea diseases continue to cause a high burden of mortality among young children in particular.
The State has, per capita, one of the highest concentrations of Health Manpower among the North-Eastern States. The State has two tertiary Health Care Centers (RIMS and JNIMS) and 7 District Hospitals. Further there are 26 private Hospitals and Nursing Homes which are registered under the “Manipur Nursing Home and Clinic Registration Act.1992”.