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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2014, Article ID 946875, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/946875
Research Article

Neonates in Ahmedabad, India, during the 2010 Heat Wave: A Climate Change Adaptation Study

1Department of Paediatrics, Smt S.C.L. General Hospital, Saraspur, Ahmedabad 380053, India
2Department of Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA
3Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar 380054, India
4Ahmedabad Heat and Climate Study Group, Gandhinagar 380054, India

Received 31 May 2013; Revised 5 December 2013; Accepted 7 January 2014; Published 10 March 2014

Academic Editor: Luis Gabriel Cuervo

Copyright © 2014 Khyati Kakkad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Health effects from climate change are an international concern with urban areas at particular risk due to urban heat island effects. The burden of disease on vulnerable populations in non-climate-controlled settings has not been well studied. This study compared neonatal morbidity in a non-air-conditioned hospital during the 2010 heat wave in Ahmedabad to morbidity in the prior and subsequent years. The outcome of interest was neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions for heat. During the months of April, May, and June of 2010, 24 NICU admissions were for heat versus 8 and 4 in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Both the effect of moving the maternity ward and the effect of high temperatures were statistically significant, controlling for each other. Above 42 degrees Celsius, each daily maximum temperature increase of a degree was associated with 43% increase in heat-related admissions (95% CI 9.2–88%). Lower floor location of the maternity ward within hospital which occurred after the 2010 heat wave showed a protective effect. These findings demonstrate the importance of simple surveillance measures in motivating a hospital policy change for climate change adaptation—here relocating one ward—and the potential increasing health burden of heat in non-climate-controlled institutions on vulnerable populations.