Ministry of Health and Prevention discusses climate change’s impact on health and sustainable healthcare at COP28

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has organised a panel discussion titled “Sustainable Healthcare from a New Perspective” to discuss the interconnectedness of health and climate and explore the pivotal role of innovative technology and strategic policies in ensuring sustainable healthcare. The event was held on the sidelines of COP28, at Expo City Dubai.

Organised by the Ministry in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, the Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH), and Sustainable Market Initiatives (SMI), the event was attended by Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, and Dr. Rana Al Hajjeh, Director of Programme Management at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, in addition to a number of healthcare and environmental policymakers, WHO Regional Office representatives, healthcare and climate change experts, as well as researchers and climate specialists from non-govern
mental organisations.

The panel discussion provided a crucial platform for attendees to exchange perspectives, experiences, and innovative ideas regarding the ramifications of climate change on health. Participants engaged in discussions emphasising the importance of establishing sustainable, equitable, and climate-resilient healthcare systems.

During the event, participants also stressed the importance of reinforcing countries’ commitment to ATACH to realise sustainability objectives and foster collaboration among key stakeholders in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Dr. Al Rand expressed gratitude for the significant progress made by the Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH), adding that such a fundamental initiative has played an instrumental role in promoting global collaboration and developing climate-resilient and sustainable health systems.

Al Rand noted that ATACH network has now expanded to include 77 committed countries and over 40 non-state partner organisations, all
actively contributing their valuable insights. This remarkable growth reflects both the urgency and significance of addressing the impact of climate change on global health.

He expressed his appreciation to the UK and Egypt for their roles in organising COP26 and COP27, respectively, and for their efforts in incorporating health priorities into climate change discussions. He acknowledged that ATACH has been instrumental in building upon the discussions and outcomes of these previous conferences.

Al Rand added that ATACH is still striving to enhance collaborative actions and tackle crucial issues such as developing resilient health infrastructures, reducing emissions from healthcare supply chains, and delving into the intricate interplay between climate change, nutrition, and health.

Dr. Al Rand emphasised that the UAE is committed to supporting regional and global initiatives related to assessing health vulnerability in the face of climate change and assessing the existing responses and adaptation strategi
es within the healthcare sector.

While stressing the importance of using innovative technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare, he commended the conference presidency’s launch of “COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health in partnership with the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

He further elaborated that, in its capacity as co-chair of the Alliance, the Ministry of Health and Prevention will spare no effort to strengthen ATACH efforts, identify opportunities, provide support to help it fulfill its objectives and functions, facilitate engagement with Member States and stakeholders, and actively participate in the Steering Group.

For her part, Dr. Rana Al Hajjeh noted that the WHO, in collaboration with ATACH Co-Chairs, will continue to foster their role as catalysts for change, helping countries fulfil their commitments to the Alliance and inviting new ones in the region to join ATACH. ‘We will use every given opportunity to fast-track the development of sust
ainable healthcare systems and foster resilience and sustainability throughout the region, a key aim of these collaborative endeavours,’ Al Hajjeh said.

Following her speech, the participants were treated to a WHO video presentation that delved into the intricate relationship between health and climate. The presentation outlined the health impacts of climate change on individuals and communities, shedding light on this critical aspect of the global climate challenge.

A panel discussion titled “Progress in ATACH Commitments” was held during the gathering, featuring notable participants including Dr. Firas Abiad, Lebanese Minister of Health; Dr. Ali Mrabet, Tunisian Minister of Health; Dr. Khalid Abdul Ghaffar, Egyptian Minister of Health and Population; Dr. Firas Ibrahim Al Hawari, Jordanian Minister of Health; and Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca. In addition to deepening understanding of the Alliance’s objectives within the region, the session discussed ways to integrate climate and health strategies into
comprehensive plans and evaluate challenges and approaches to expedite progress towards sustainable healthcare.

The event also hosted a second panel, “Advancing Sustainable Initiatives for Climate-Resistant Healthcare Systems.” Participants included Dr. Ahmed Taha, Chairman of the Egyptian General Authority for Accreditation and Regulation of Healthcare; Dr. Steve Holt, Director and CEO of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA); Dr. Bassam Kaddissi, Chairman of Healthcare Sustainability Division at the Arab Hospitals Federation; Dr. Iman Kandili, President of African Global Health (AGH); and Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy, Co-Director of the GEOHealth Hub MENA. The panel explored avenues for integrating low-carbon footprints into healthcare and developing climate-sustainable healthcare systems. Participants also shared actionable solutions and collaborative strategies to improve health outcomes and climate resilience.

Attendees spoke highly of the UAE’s role in facilitating discussions aimed at fostering the establi
shment of climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable healthcare systems. They highlighted the critical connection between climate change and health, stressing the regional need for policy integration and enhanced inter-country cooperation to reduce carbon emissions in healthcare and achieve sustainable goals. The event also showcased major sustainable healthcare initiatives and best practices across the region, focusing on the promotion of low-carbon health systems.

Earlier in July last year, the Ministry of Health and Prevention announced it would participate as a co-chair in ATACH, launched by the World Health Organisation at COP26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in 2021. The Alliance, a global volunteer platform led by the WHO, is committed to building sustainable, low-carbon, and climate-resilient health systems. It supports collaborative actions among FAO Member States, governmental institutions, and non-state actors to integrate climate change and health measures into national, regional, and interna
tional plans.

Source: Emirates News Agency


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