Climate change and the associated increases in temperature have considerable public health implications. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) works with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) to compile knowledge bases and formulate preventive measures to protect the public from the health-related effects of climate change.
According to climate scenarios, the kind of hot summers seen in 2003, 2015 and 2018 will be increasingly frequent, intense and longer-lasting in the future. The effects of heat on people’s health are varied and complex, and can result in death: in the hot summer of 2003, 6.9% more people died than is usual at that time of year; in 2015 the rate was 5.4% higher than average.
The goal of this area of focus is to compile current scientific data on the health-related effects of climate change as the basis for formulating preventive measures to address the effects of heat stress. The idea is to make information and materials on preventive measures available to members of the public, professionals and the authorities.
As part of the area of focus, research is being done at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) into the effects of heat on health:
Information material for members of the public and professionals
Following the hot summer of 2003, the FOPH and FOEN compiled information material on how to protect against heatwaves. This information raised awareness of the dangers in the event of heatwaves. The material, which is geared to professionals and members of the public, was updated in 2016. Flyers and posters can be ordered (in German, French and Italian) from the www.hitzewelle.ch website.
Toolbox of measures for the authorities
In 2017 the FOPH commissioned the Swiss TPH to produce a toolbox of measures to help cantonal authorities deal with heatwaves – and in particular to draw up a heatwave action plan.
An evaluation conducted by the Swiss TPH on behalf of the FOPH reveals that heatwave action plans help reduce heat-related mortality.
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) manages this area of focus in cooperation with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The basic scientific work is conducted by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) on behalf of the FOPH and FOEN.
Last modification 01.04.2019