Taking a point of departure in current knowledge about the existing health situation in Vietnam and insights into interrelationships between social, environmental and institutional risk factors and health, this chapter reports on small-scale health surveys conducted in purposely selected communities of the Thang Binh district of Quang Nam province. The surveys aimed at exploring awareness of and coping to environmental and climate change induced health problems. In the surveys most respondents associated climate change with abnormal weather conditions and typically mentioned seawater level rise, storms, floods and increase in temperature. Generally, respondents had observed considerable changes in health patterns in recent years however, without linking these clearly to climate change or climate factors but rather to a change in environmental determinants of health such as food, water and air quality. The observations are consistent with a wider socio-economic household survey, reporting a worsening of the health condition by a majority of households. A range of coping mechanisms were highlighted by community members and local authorities as ways and means of protecting each other and individual households and their members in times of increased extreme weather events and general environmental change. Future new actions should ideally be informed by parallel research initiatives and the present small-scale survey may stimulate more in-depth and broader studies that may help to identify proper, sustainable solutions for future adaptation and coping to climate and environmental change.
On the Frontiers of Climate and Environmental Change, 2013, p. 195-218