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WHA77 Statement –  health care systems must be supported to mitigate and minimise climate change

WFSA joined a WHA77 constituency statement on WHA77 agenda item 15.4 – Climate change, pollution and health impact of chemicals, waste pollution on human health and Climate Change and Health.

The IPCC, the UN, and the WHO have recognized Climate Change to be the defining health crisis of our time. If humanity does not address this challenge successfully, then all other efforts to promote health will be for nought.

The International Healthcare System must respond in at least three ways.

First, our systems for delivering healthcare, from facilities to workforce to supply chain are vulnerable to impacts of the changing climate, especially severe weather events, surges in care requirements, and population displacement.

Second, the operations of the healthcare system generate significant amounts of greenhouse gasses, thus accelerating the problem and harming human health and geopolitical stability.

Third, we, the members of the healthcare community, are among the most trusted of voices in society.

Therefore, we call upon the WHO and all constituent Ministries of Health to prioritize the following:

  1. Hardening of their Healthcare systems to anticipate and mitigate the risk from the changing climate, so as to provide needed services to all people.
  2. Elimination of all on-site combustion of any fossil fuels in any healthcare institution, and substitution of renewable energy sources coupled with energy storage in lieu of electricity produced from the combustion of fossil fuels. Mitigation of low-value care and unnecessary consumption of materials and energy.
  3. Advocacy that leverages our trusted voices, to accelerate similar needed change in other sectors.

We, the people who plan, design, construct, and operate the world’s healthcare facilities, pledge our resources to support this most critical effort.

Statement was supported by the following non-state actors:

  • International Federation of Hospital Engineers
  • International Federation of Surgical Colleges
  • Humatem
  • World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists
  • UIA
  • International Pediatric Association
  • Solid Waste Association Working Group on Health Care Waste
  • Pasteur Network
  • International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
  • March of Dimes
  • International Network, Medecins Du Monde
  • International College of Surgeons