The need to gather data to develop deeper understanding of health impacts of climate change was emphasised at a meet in Delhi
Efforts to project health as a major concern at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) have begun in India. In a run-up to the Paris meet where the climate deal will be finalised, a meeting was organised by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), in Delhi.
At the meet, the delegates agreed on a declaration showing their commitment to reduce climate change to protect health of people and building healthcare systems to fight the impacts that exist. International journal The Lancet's study on climate change and health, published earlier this year, was also launched in India at the meeting.
The declaration that was accepted by experts across the country emphasised on the need to gather data to develop deeper understanding of health impacts of climate change.
“We recently launched a programme for state level monitoring of health data. Though this will be secondary data, it will help us develop models to collect community level data which can be analysed for purposes of climate change impacts,” said Srinath Reddy, president, PHFI.
Another focus of the declaration was on education of public health and medical professionals as well as common people, and on the health ramifications of energy policies and projects. Payden of World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for South-East Asia said that involving the youth is the most important solution as “they represent the present and the future generation”. She said that WHO has created training modules for teachers and students to educate them on matters of climate change and health. “People’s attitude towards bursting crackers has changed. That happened because children were involved in the campaign. We need to do the same for health,” she added.
The declaration said it supports similar efforts being elsewhere, like the WHO’s Call to Action to protect health from climate change; the Healthy Energy Initiative’s global Paris Platform for Healthy Energy and the Healthy Energy Initiative - India Statement on Climate, Energy, and Health; the Global Climate and Health Alliance’s Our Climate, Our Health campaign; and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ Global Consensus Statement: Act now to reduce the health impacts of climate change.
PHFI’s Reddy reinstated that the negotiations at Paris will have to take into account health impacts of climate change. “This is a matter of protection of health as a human right. Health is impacted through multiple pathways. We must initiate multi-sectoral efforts and look at health from different angles,” he said.
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