Health Impacts of Climate and Environmental Change


Environmental health addresses the physical, chemical and biological factors external to a person, and all the related behaviors. According to the latest estimates from WHO, an estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.

In Thailand, there are many factors that contributed to environmental health issues such as social and economic growth, urbanization and climate change, etc. Key environmental health issues of Thailand include; climate change and health impacts, water and sanitation, solid and hazardous waste management, chemical safety and air pollution.

Environmental health is a cross-cutting issue that involves various authorities therefore Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in collaboration with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) developed the third National Environmental Health Strategic Plan (2017-2021) with inputs from all relevant authorities. The plan provides a framework and directions on environmental health management for all concerned authorities to develop harmonized action plans for supporting country’s sustainable development and healthy population.

Thailand has developed and implemented the first and the second National Environmental Health Strategic Plan during the past ten year. WHO Thailand supported the review of the first decade of Thailand’s National Environmental Health Strategic Plan Development and Implementation (2006-2015). The lessons learned and experiences from the development of two strategic plans and recommendations for the third strategic plan have been documented.

Climate change and health

Thailand is vulnerable to be threatened by climate change, particularly through increased exposure to rising temperatures, extreme weather event and sea level rise. In order to support MOPH in the development of the National Health Adaptation Plan (NAP), WHO Thailand supported an expert to carry out an assessment of health vulnerability and adaptation to climate change impacts in Thailand in 2014. The review of Climate Change and Health Activities in Thailand was published by WHO/SEARO with the inputs from this assessment.

In 2015, the qualitative assessment of heat stress and health impacts for Thailand was carried out by an expert jointly with MOPH with support from WHO Thailand. The recommendations for heat intervention strategies and health protection measures for Thailand were produced and presented to high level officials of MOPH for consideration and endorsement. Later in 2016, the Department of Health (DOH), MOPH has started to develop the framework on heat-health warning system in Thailand with funding support from WHO Thailand.

Through a country consultation process, WHO/HQ produced the Climate and Health Country Profiles – 2015. This document provides relevant and reliable country-specific information about the current and future impacts of climate change on human health, the opportunities for health co-benefits from climate mitigation actions, and current policy responses at country level.

Water and sanitation

The Drinking Water Quality Surveillance performed by DOH during 2008-2016, indicates concerns over the safety of drinking water in Thailand as majority of drinking water samples from various sources (tap water, bottled water, shallow well, artesian well, rain water and water vending machine) do not meet DOH’s drinking water quality standards.

Water Safety Plan (WSP) is plan to ensure the safety of drinking water through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that encompasses all steps in water supply from catchment to consumer. In 2016, WHO supported the Joint MOPH-WHO Review on Water Safety Plan (WSP) in Thailand in order to review WSP experience of Thailand’s principal drinking water stakeholders and to provide recommendations for the scaling up of WSP in Thailand.

The following guidelines were translated into Thai in order to felicitate WSP implementation in Thailand.

  • WSP for small community
  • A practical guide to auditing water safety plan

For more information please contact:
World Health Organization
Country Office for Thailand
4th Fl.,Permanent Secretary Bld 3
Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi
Tel: +6625918198, Fax: +6625918199