Real Voices interview: Kim Nguyen-Thi
Meet Kim, a doctor in Vietnam who gives her perspective on climate change
What do you do?
I work as a doctor in primary healthcare in Ho Chi Minh City.
How personally concerned are you about climate change?
Climate change is a global issue, affecting every human being in the world. Personally, I am concerned about climate change’s consequences, which are affecting every country, every home and every person. We have seen many impacts on my country, such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, infectious disease epidemics. My big concern is that these disasters are happening more and more frequently.
What do you think will be the biggest impact locally?
Vietnam has more than 3,000 kilometres of coastline, which is vulnerable to climate change damage. In recent years, Vietnam has seen droughts and floods associated with El Niño events. In the future these climate-related disasters will be more serious as temperature increases.
I live in Ho Chi Minh City, the most interesting region of Vietnam in terms of climate. However, in recent years, this city has also been affected by climate change – the dry season has been warmer and the rainy season longer.
What do you think will be the biggest impact on human health locally?
Locally, I think infectious disease epidemics will increase – there has been an increase of vector-borne diseases in Vietnam such as dengue fever, malaria, encephalitis. Moreover, a change in climatic conditions will increase the incidence of various types of water- and food-borne infectious diseases. Last, but not least, climate change can affect health indirectly through contamination of water supplies and loss of food production (leading to hunger and malnutrition).
What do you think are the most important steps to take now?
The authorities have to launch the campaigns to enhance awareness of people about climate change, and take a wide range of precautionary measures to reduce economic and social impacts of disasters.