The climate crisis and its impact on human health are already being felt around the world, and are projected to worsen in the coming decades. There is a need to address the health vulnerability of populations. Health vulnerability and adaptation assessments are being carried out at various scales to contribute towards adaptation planning. Several tools and methods have been developed and applied in different contexts.
This scoping review was able to identify 25 tools and methods for assessing health vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) scoping review guidelines. Data on the methods used, unit of assessment, scope of climatic hazards and health concerns addressed, consideration of climate projections, stakeholder involvement, and tool outputs were extracted.
Most of the identified papers were based on assessments conducted in high-income countries (56%). The majority of the approaches assessed health vulnerability at the level of a district or below (72%). Over half of the approaches considered all the relevant climate hazards (52%) and health concerns (52%) during the assessment, while some approaches only focused on one or a few specific aspects such as extreme heat (16%) or dengue (8%). Information about the resources needed for conducting these assessments was unavailable.
While health planners may benefit from the description of approaches for health vulnerability assessment included in this review, evaluations of the approaches applied in particular contexts can provide additional rich insights. In addition, these assessment approaches should be piloted in neglected locations, and new approaches should be developed based on contextual needs and identified gaps.