Health sector preparedness for adaptation planning in India


Developing countries face substantial vulnerabilities to the current and projected health risks of climate change. The paper explores some key elements for health care system preparedness and adaptation planning for heatwaves, flooding and cyclones, illustrating the constraints faced in the Indian context, by analyzing data from a field study. The barriers are not insurmountable and many opportunities exist in building climate resilient infrastructure, improving intersectoral organization, resource planning, and framing health policies and programmes that mainstream climate risks. This is the first comprehensive attempt to collect and analyse data on morbidity, mortality, and extreme events, supported by intensive primary survey based data on the preparedness of the health care system to manage risks in India. Recognizing the importance of specific climatic events such as heatwaves, systematic documentation and assessment of risks with associated morbidity and mortality, and collaboration across relevant departments are instrumental in framing an appropriate adaptation plan.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Surveillance involves the systematic collection of data on health determinants and outcomes. Monitoring analyzes and interprets health and environmental data, distributing information to relevant actors for timely and effective control measures.

  2. 2.

    Houses with walls and roofs made of materials such as mud, unburnt bricks, bamboo, reeds, etc. (Census 2011a)

  3. 3.

    Typically such roads are constructed using crushed rock or gravel material such as coarse sand or small stones, as distinct from roads provided with a bituminous surfacing (Census 2011b). These roads may or may not be functional throughout the year depending on the material used and the weather conditions.

  4. 4.

    A list of the state action plans is provided in online resource 6. The plans are available online (GOI 2016d)


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Correspondence to Purnamita Dasgupta.

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Dasgupta, P., Ebi, K. & Sachdeva, I. Health sector preparedness for adaptation planning in India. Climatic Change 138, 551–566 (2016).

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  • Cyclone
  • Malaria
  • Extreme Event
  • Disaster Management
  • Flood Prone Area