Many parts of the country are experiencing excessive heat (high temperatures) and this has various negative health impacts on human health. In order to minimize the effects of the heat wave, the Ministry of Health and Population is providing the following information to the general public during this period.
KEEP YOUR HOME COOL
• Aim to keep your living space cool. Check the room temperature between 08:00 and 10:00, at 13:00 and at night after 22:00. Ideally, the room temperature should be kept below 32 °C during the day and 24 °C during night. This is especially important for infants or people who are over 60 years of age or have chronic health Conditions.
• Use the night air to cool down your home. Open windows and shutters during the night and the early morning, when the outside temperature is lower (if safe to do so).
• Reduce the heat load inside the apartment or house.Close windows and shutters (if available) especially those facing the sun during the day. Turn off artificial lighting and as many electrical devices as possible.
• Hang shades, draperies, awnings or louvers on window that receive morning or afternoon sun.
• Hang wet towels to cool down the room air. Note that the humidity of the air increases at the same time.
• If your residence is air conditioned, close the doors and windows and conserve electricity not needed to keep you cool, to ensure that power remains available and reduce the chance of a community-wide outage.
• Electric fans may provide relief, but when the temperature is above 35 °C, may not prevent heat related illness. It is important to drink fluids.
KEEP OUT OF THE HEAT
• Move to the coolest room in the home, especially at night.
• If it is not possible to keep your home cool, spend 2–3 hours of the day in a cool place (such as an air conditioned public building).
• Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day.
• Avoid strenuous physical activity if you can. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 and 7:00.
• Stay in the shade.
• Schools are advised to adjust starting and ending time for lessons to avoid peak hours of hotness.
• Where possible under shade or open fresh air.
• Where possible working shifts should be adjusted to shorter working hours.
• Do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles.
Keep the body cool and hydrated
• Take cool showers or baths. Alternatives include cold packs and wraps, towels, sponging, foot baths, etc.
• Wear light, loose-fitting clothes of natural materials. If you go outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat or cap and Sunglasses.Use light bed linen and sheets, and no cushions, to avoid heat accumulation.
• Drink fluids regularly, but avoid alcohol and too much caffeine and sugar.
• Plan to check on family, friends, and neighbours who spend much of their time alone. Vulnerable people (such as persons with disabilities) might need assistance on hot days.
• Discuss extreme heat-waves with your family. Everyone should know what to do in the places where they spend time.
• If anyone you know is at risk, help him or her to get advice and support. Elderly or sick people living alone should be visited at least daily.
• If a person is taking medication, ask the treating doctor how it can influence thermo regulation and the fluid balance.
• Everyone should know how to respond.
IF YOU HAVE A HEALTH PROBLEM
• Keep medicines at a cool place (below 25 °C) or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging).
• Seek medical advice from your nearest health facility or health worker if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications.
IF YOU OR OTHERS FEEL UNWELL
• Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature.
• Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
Dr Dan Namarika
SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND POPULATION
29TH October, 2019
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and various Disaster Risk Management (DRM) stakeholders on Wednesday and Thursday (9th and 10th October 2019) converged on Salima for a working session aimed at finalising the review of the National Disaster Risk Management Communication Strategy (NDRMCS).
Speaking during the opening ceremony, DoDMA’s Chief Mitigation Officer Dr. Stern Kita said the review was aimed at incorporating emerging climate and disaster risk management issues into the strategy, while also reviewing the progress that has been made since the strategy was developed in 2014.
“In 2014, we developed the National Disaster Risk Management Communication Strategy whose implementation period came to an end in 2018. It was high time we reviewed the communication strategy to incorporate emerging climate change and disaster risk management issues,” said Kita.
The working session has brought together civic educators, civil society organisations, climate and weather experts, planners, communication experts, humanitarian partners, police, road traffic, water resources and geological survey experts, among others.
In previous working sessions leading to the finalisation of the NDRMCS, DoDMA engaged communities from eight district of the country namely; Zomba, Mulanje, Mwanza, Kasungu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota as part of the processes in the review of the communication strategy. The department also held a review meeting with various DRM stakeholders, engaged various stakeholders in development and trial-testing of developed and improved messages.
The review of the NDRMCS has been made possible with funding under the Saving Lives and Protecting Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Malawi: Scaling up the use of Modernised Climate Information and Early Warning Systems (M-CLIMES) Project.
The M-CLIMES is a 6-year, US$16,264,545 (about K12 billion) project funded by the Green Climate Fund, the Malawi Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It aims at supporting the Malawi Government to take steps in saving lives and enhance livelihoods at risk of climate-related disasters.