Damage to health
Risk of death and disease in vulnerable groups, particularly in urban areas, due to heat waves
Various kinds of health damage brought about by climate change
Impacts on health include heat stress and its typical example, heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs not only in the strong sunlight of summer, but also indoors, and can be life-threatening when symptoms are serious. Other impacts indicated are an increase in people suffering from circulatory and respiratory diseases due to rising photochemical oxidants in the atmosphere attributed to global warming, as well as epidemics of dengue fever and tropical malaria. Further, the risk of infectious diseases will rise because flooding worsens the sanitary environment. A wide range of climate change induced impacts on health are predicted to spread, such as water stress and malnutrition in developing countries mired in water and food shortages.
In 2014, the first outbreak of dengue fever in Japan in 70 years made news. Dengue fever was an unfamiliar illness in Japan, but had been pointed out in the past as a risk of climate change. According to WHO investigations, infections of dengue fever will occur in over 100 more countries than at present, with annual infections numbering approximately 100 million people. WHO is calling for heightened caution for globally expanding infections with a risk of "2.5 billion people or about 40% of the global population" becoming infected.
What ICT can do to counter health damage
In countries like Japan where elderly people often live alone, mechanisms to watch over the state of health of each individual are important. The state of health of elderly people can be watched with care if sensors that measure body temperature, pulse rate and momentum are utilized. For example, preventative measures can be encouraged before heat stroke occurs based on information on indoor temperature, humidity, body temperature and heart rate. Even if heat stroke occurs, the emergent situation can be detected and immediate help sent out.
Further, initiatives in communities to quickly share information and avoid expansion are essential in the outbreak of infectious diseases. Utilization of ICT enables the rapid transmission and sharing of information among hospitals.
What NEC can contribute to addressing health damage
Support for prevention of health damage
The risk of heat stroke differs based on weather conditions and living environments. NEC supports preventative measures prior to occurrence through resident health management via sensors and sharing of information on health damage in communities.
- Prevention of heat stroke
- Prevention of occurrence with preventative measures
Support for medical and health care
Information sharing systems such as digital charts are essential to receive reliable medical care at any time and any place. Utilizing ICT, NEC supports the informatization of medical facilities, cooperation among facilities and the creation of new forms of medical care. Furthermore, in addition to the provision of health management services, we contribute to the realization of safe, secure, people-friendly and healthy societies based on medical and health care solutions.
- Maintenance and management of health
- Improved medical services
Supporting care for the elderly
Single-person households of people over 65 in Japan total five times that of 30 years ago, or over 4 million households. NEC provides a cloud service to carefully watch for changes in regular lifestyle based on the lifestyle patterns of the elderly. Sensors measure the state of use of electrical appliances and the opening and closing of refrigerators and room doors. If a change occurs in the rhythm of daily behavior, emails are sent to family or local public bodies to support prompt responses in case of need.
- Health management
- Confirmation of safety
Support for preventing the spread of tropical diseases
The risk of spread of tropical diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as malaria and dengue fever, is on the rise in Japan due to rising average temperatures. Using infrared thermography, NEC has provided a mechanism that measures the body surface temperature of visitors to identify persons exceeding a predetermined temperature. By supporting appropriate treatment, we contribute to preventing the spread of infections.
- Prevention of the spread of tropical diseases