Climate change a public health threat, global group says
HEALTH and environmental advocates came together to urge the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to come up with a cohesive and responsive health strategy that recognizes climate change as a threat to public health.
In a forum organized by international environmental health group Health Care Without Harm-Asia and the Laguna Lake Development Authority, representatives from the Climate Change Commission, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine College of Physicians and civil society emphasized how climate change poses serious threats to public health.
“Climate change is now recognized as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. We are seeing both its gradual and drastic effects on health, from subtle increases in infectious diseases to disability and death as a result of natural disasters,” explained HCWH-Asia director Ramon San Pascual.
San Pacual said the climate issue is also an issue of social justice, because it is the poor who are most affected by the drastic impacts of climate change.
“We appeal to the administration of President Duterte to heed our call by upholding laws that protect both the environment and people’s health, promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and supporting climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable hospitals and health systems,” he said.
During the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva last month, the Philippines co-hosted a forum on climate and health as chairman of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which is represented by 43 developing countries most affected by climate change.
At the forum, participating nations agreed that governments worldwide should intensify policies, from implementing mitigation measures to reducing health sector’s carbon footprint and strengthening health systems to be climate resilient.
In the Philippines, the Philippine Heart Center has been showcasing leadership in greening health care through their various programs geared towards reducing their carbon emission through the use of solar powered energy, energy.
HCWH-Asia is part of an international coalition with over 500 member organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice.