Health system adaptation to climate change: A Peruvian case study

Stephanie Aracena, Marco Barboza, Victor Zamora, Oswaldo Salaverry, Doreen Montag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite mitigation attempts, the trajectory of climate change remains on an accelerated path, with devastating health impacts. As a response to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change call for National Adaptation Plans, Peru has developed a national and decentralized regional adaptation plans. The purpose of this article is to understand the role and priority status of health within the adaptation planning and process. Peru was used as a case study to analyse the policy process in the creation of adaptation plans, encompassing the need to address climate change impacts on health with a particular focus on marginalized people. An actor, content and context policy analyses were conducted to analyse 17 out of 25 regional adaptation plans, which are available. The national adaptation plans (2002, 2015) do not include health as a priority or health adaptation strategies. In a decentralized health care system, regional plans demonstrate an increased improvement of complexity, systematization and structure over time (2009-17). In general, health has not been identified as a priority but as another area of impact. There is no cohesiveness between plans in format, content, planning and execution and only a limited consideration for marginalized populations. In conclusion, the regional departments of Peru stand on unequal footing regarding adapting the health sector to climate change. Findings in the strategies call into question how mitigation and adaption to climate change may be achieved. The lack of local research on health impacts due to climate change and a particular focus on marginalized people creates a policy vacuum. The Peruvian case study resembles global challenges to put health in the centre of national and regional adaptation plans. In-depth cross-country analysis is still missing but urgently needed to learn from other experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-83
Number of pages39
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. All rights reserved.


  • Climate change adaptation
  • Peru
  • health system
  • policy analysis
  • vulnerability


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