Climate change and subsequent vulnerabilities influence a wide range of environmental factors. Contrary to what is believed as a rise in temperature, the phenomenon affects more than just that. Precipitation, rising sea levels, disease and extreme weather events are just some of these catastrophes and the 2022 floods and Covid-19 pandemic are more obvious examples. In that vein, it is now being reported that climate change will increase the distribution and incidence of dengue, especially in colder cities.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that human activities have already caused an increase of 1.1 ℃ since the pre-industrial period. The last four decades have been successively warmer and experts have repeatedly emphasized that these adverse consequences will impact some areas more than others. Unfortunately, the greater burden of these concerns will be experienced by those on the front lines, low and middle-income countries. In dengue’s case, because areas are getting warmer and environmentally suitable for the vector, the likelihood of its spread is also increasing.

Because of this, our population is disproportionately at a higher risk of outbreak. This fact is dangerous for us at home because not only are we ill-equipped to handle the spread of disease, these effects are further exacerbated by poverty and existing health inequities. Thus, immediate and effective measures are needed to manage the projected spread and incidence of dengue. Pakistan needs to invest in newer and better methods of vector control and dengue vaccines. On the citizen and service delivery end, we need to be prepared for the disease to reach areas where it is currently in control. This can be done through pre-cursory conversations and scientific modelling that can inform future systematic reviews and processes to mitigate these challenges.

While it is understood that climate change cannot be tackled in isolation, it is also wasteful to spend time deconstructing the issue. The climate burden is not on the global south but, unfortunately, globalisation, trade, travel and demographic trends will continue to nurture and worsen these effects. It is, therefore, a need of the hour for our ministries and government institutions to remain wary of these changes and plan ahead.