Health Care

COP22 | Spotlight on Climate and Health as Officials Map out Implementation of Paris Agreement

Over the last two weeks Marrakech, Morocco played host to the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP) on Climate Change. With the Paris Agreement coming into force just weeks before the event began, COP22 focused on bringing the world together to develop strategies and craft a blueprint for implementing the Agreement at national and global levels. 

While COP22 did not produce the headlines that Paris did, it is an integral part of a multi-year process to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and marshal the forces of the global community to address climate change. As a representative from the World Meteorological Organization put it during the conference, “You can ignore climate change, but it won’t ignore you.” The message emanating from Marrakech is clear: the world must take real and immediate action now.

Amidst the negotiations and myriad events throughout COP22, the climate and health connection continued its rise into the mainstream as a key driver for action.  Seven events covering different aspects of the climate and health issue from air pollution, to migration, to solutions took place over the two weeks of the COP event.

The following are highlights from a few events showcasing how the health sector used COP22 as a platform to highlight climate and health issues and help build a community to address them.

  • On November 11th, the WHO, the French Ambassador for Climate Change, and the Minister Delegate in charge of Environment of Morocco organized hosted held Health Action Day. The event focused on showcasing the innovative programs already being implemented to address and mitigate the health impacts of climate change. Health Care Without Harm presented the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge and our work to engage and unite the global health sector to develop low carbon health care and act as a leading voice to protect the health of the planet. (Read full article on the event)
  • On November 14, Health Care Without Harm and Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) member, the Mohammed VI University Hospital hosted the Climate and Health Care Conference. The event brought together health sector leaders from around Morocco, Europe, and beyond to share strategies for the health sector to mitigate its own climate impacts, develop low carbon models of care, and use their voice, both individually and collectively, to advocate for policies to address climate change and public health. (Read full article on the event).
  • Monday the 14th also saw the launch of The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change at COP22. This new Lancet Commission project is an international, multidisciplinary research collaboration between academic institutions and practitioners across the world. The Lancet Countdown aims to track and report annually on the health impacts of climate hazards; health resilience and adaptation; health co-benefits of climate change mitigation; economics and finance; and political and broader engagement.
  • On Tuesday the 15th, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Health of Morocco, in partnership with the World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme, convened representatives from Ministries of Health and Environment from around the globe to sign a declaration on “Health Environment, and Climate Change.” This event and the declaration is an important step to both demonstrate the interest of nations around the world, from Botswana, to Canada, to the Philippines, Norway, and points in between in focusing on climate and health as well as the need for a global high-level alliance to drive these efforts.

Looming over the COP were the major political changes taking place in the US and the potential impacts they would have on the implementation of the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.  While those concerns are very real, the dramatic shifts and changes in both the climate of the planet and the climate of global politics, underscored in Marrakech the call by governments and civil society for the world to stand and work together.

Such collaboration is necessary to scale up programs and drive the transformative, high impact change needed to achieve global climate goals. The globe is on a timeline that not just calls for this collaboration but requires it.

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November 29, 2016Global

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COP 22 | Interview with Nick Thorp: Climate Change in the Health Care Setting

Radio Interview

During COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, Radio Climat caught up with Nick Thorp, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) Community Manager.

During this interview, Nick  discusses the role of GGHH and its intent to mobilize health care to reduce its own carbon footprint, become more climate resilient, and exert leadership to help every society transition to a low carbon energy future.

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November 21, 2016Global

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Nepal | HCWH Participates in Regional Workshop on Health Care Waste Management

From November 21st to 24th, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) will be participating in a Health Care Waste Management (HCWM) Workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal. Organized by the World Health Organization, South-East Asia Regional Office (WHO/SEARO), and aimed at the health program managers of the region's countries [1], the workshop will review the status of the progress on health care waste management in the region, share and learn from various country experiences, and make recommendations to improve management.

The event is a follow-up on a similar meeting organized in 2011 (click here for more information on HCWH’s participation).

Ruth Stringer, HCWH’s Science and Policy Coordinator for Global Projects, has been invited to participate as an international expert, and will present on Waste minimization and management: combining strategies to reduce the impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment.

Mahesh Nakarmi, Director of the Health Care Foundation of Nepal (HECAF), a strategic partner of HCWH will speak on HCWM in small health care facilities and Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) member Dr Ming –Nan Lin, Vice superintendent, Dallin Tzu Chi Hospitals in Taiwan will provide a presentation: HCWM from Policy to Practice. The program features topics including innovations in recycling of health care waste, bio-digestion, injection safety, management of laboratory waste and the importance of waste management during disease outbreaks.

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As part of the event, there will be field visits to GGHH members, Paropakar Maternity & Women’s Hospital, Kathmandu Medical College and Government run Budhanilkantha Health Post.  HECAF are also organizing an exhibition of healthcare waste management technologies- from needle cutters to autoclaves- being used in Nepal.   The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation DAAI Technology are bringing recycled clothes and other materials made from PET bottles to show the delegates.

 

Notes

[1] Countries who are part of the WHO SouthEast Asian Regional Office (SEARO) include: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste

November 18, 2016Global

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COP 22 | Acting for a Low Carbon Future – Conference on Climate and Health Care

Marrakech, Morroco – On November 14, Health Care Without Harm and Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) member, the Mohammed VI University Hospital hosted the Climate and Health Care Conference in parallel to COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco. The event, the first of its kind to be held in the country, brought together health sector leaders from around Morocco, Europe, and beyond to share strategies for the health sector to mitigate its own climate impacts, develop low carbon models of care, and use their voice, both individually and collectively, to advocate for policies to address climate change and public health.

With the focus of COP22 on the actions necessary to achieve the goals set out in the Paris agreement, the conference focused on the role that the health sector can play in this global effort. From carbon mitigation strategies being implemented by CHU Niort (France), to approaches to reduce the carbon footprint of health care procurement from Region Skåne (Sweden) and the Sustainable Development Unit (UK), to regional climate resiliency planning measures undertaken by Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (France), GGHH/2020 Challenge organizations were showcased throughout the day. Health Care Without Harm recognized their achievements and leadership on low carbon health care with 2016 Climate Champion Awards.

The event also provided a forum to feature the innovative work taking place around Morocco by individual hospitals as well as the Ministry of Health to ensure that low carbon development is a key focus for health care in the country. New facilities being built in the cities of Casablanca, Agadir, Tangiers, and Rabat have been designed to be highly energy efficient and with a minimal environmental footprint. Additionally, existing facilities are planning renovations to improve their operations and mitigate their climate impacts.

Mr. Rachid Wahabi from the Ministry of Health of Morocco called on all hospitals in Morocco to look for opportunities to provide high quality care while being environmentally and climate friendly and committed the Ministry to support them in this transition. The route to achieving this goal, he stated, is for the dissemination of experiences, best practices, and success among hospitals as was taking place at the conference.

These words and sentiments form the strategy for the health sector moving forward from COP22. There are and will continue to be incredible innovations and actions taking place around the globe to achieve low carbon health care. Sharing these experiences, collaborating with one another at national, regional, and international levels, and coming together as a powerful, united voice on climate change Is an obligation that the health sector must take on. As a collective, the global health sector can lead the way for the world to follow.

Article by Nick Thorp

To see the image gallery of the event, click here.

About GGHH

The Global Green and Healthy Hospitals community has 727 members in 40 countries on 6 continents who represent the interests of over 20,800 hospitals and health centers. Our members are using innovation, ingenuity, and investment to transform the health sector and foster a healthy future for people and the planet.

GGHH is a project of Health Care Without Harm

About the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge

The 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge is a GGHH initiative to mobilize health care institutions around the globe to protect public health from climate change. The Challenge and pledge are based on three main pillars:

  1. Mitigation – Reducing health care’s own carbon footprint and/or fostering low carbon health care.
  2. Resilience – Preparing for the impacts of extreme weather and the shifting burden of disease.
  3. Leadership – Educating staff and the public while promoting policies to protect public health from climate change.

To learn how to endorse the pledge and participate in the Challenge, click here.

November 16, 2016Global

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COP22 | WHO Health Action Day: Champions for a Healthy Future

Nick Thorp presents during WHO side event

As world leaders convened at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco to develop strategies and actions to implement and achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, the World Health Organization hosted Health Action Day. A first of its kind event to be held inside the COP, the meeting showcased the actions and interventions being implemented by the health community at national, regional, and international levels to mitigate climate change, develop low carbon solutions, and protect the health of the planet.

From climate friendly cook stoves, to national climate health resiliency plans, to financing programs to scale up climate and health initiatives, speakers shared innovative work taking place in every corner of the globe to mitigate and prepare for the impacts of climate change on human health. The examples of successful and high impact projects are growing rapidly, and with that growth comes a need for their dissemination and scaling up. What works in one part of the world can and needs to be transferred and implemented in another. It is this sharing and diffusion of projects, technology, and strategies around the world that is necessary to have the kind of impacts needed to achieve the Paris Agreement.

Integrated throughout the presentations at the event were direct calls to the health sector for their leadership in advocating for immediate action to address climate change. Presenters shared examples of the influence that medical professionals can have: from preventing new coal-fired power plants from being built in Poland, to physician associations divestment from fossil fuels, to raising the health co-benefits of climate mitigation. This role is an integral one and one that Health Care Without Harm has been advocating for and building over the last 20 years, and most recently around climate issues with its program- the2020 Health Care Climate Challenge.

As the Minister Delegate in charge of Environment for Morocco, Ms. Hakima El Haite, state at the opening of the event, “The health community must answer the call of the Paris Agreement and be a champion in ensuring its implementation for the future health of the planet.” Health Care Without Harm has been and looks forward to continue to answer that call along with its partners and allies from around the globe to achieve the transformative change needed during this pivotal moment in time.

November 14, 2016Global

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As the Paris Agreement Comes into Effect, Health Care Leaders Join to Turn Promise into Climate Action

With the Paris Agreement recently having entered into force, just in time before the start of COP22, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is mobilizing hospitals and health systems around the world to be leaders in implementing the Paris treaty by fostering green, low carbon, climate resilient health care. With this being the initial step, HCWH is also calling on health systems to be carbon neutral by 2050.

As COP22 kicks off in Marrakech, the health sector has an opportunity to turn promise into climate action. During the COP and beyond, HCWH will continue to call on the health sector worlwide to promote cimate smart healthcare hat protects local and global health from climate change.

The 2015 Paris Agreement recognized the need to protect the health of people and the planet by shifting the world economy towards greater sustainability and equity.  It provided a foundation—agreed upon by all the world’s governments—to address climate change.   It is a foundation that can, and needs to be built upon by all parties in coming years.

In the lead-up to COP21, 50 health care institutions from 16 countries, representing over 8,000 hospitals, adopted the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, committing to dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and exercise leadership in tackling climate change.  The 2020 Challenge is a program of HCWH’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) network.

A year later, the 2020 Challenge has grown to include 130 health care institutions, representing more than 9,000 hospitals and health centers in 23 countries, pledging to reduce their carbon footprint, become climate resilient anchors in their communities, and pursue both political and economic solutions to foster climate smart, low carbon health care. These members have come together to demonstrate leadership and commit  to a combined  annual reductions of 12 million metric tons of CO2e by 2020.

On November 14th, some of these 2020 Challenge participants will be speak at the Climate and Health Care Conference, a one-day event co-organized by GGHH and 2020 Challenge Participant and GGHH member, the Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakech. This conference will bring together health sector representatives and experts from around the world to discuss the integral role of health care in the global fight against climate change. The event will also feature a rich series of panels, with speakers from a diversity of regions sharing their in-depth experiences of how they foster low carbon health care through renewable energy, purchasing, economics, and policy.

Health care has a moral obligation to provide climate leadership, and COP22 is an opportunity for the sector to turn leadership into action and further promote health and healing at home and in the world. There cannot be healthy people and healthy communities without a healthy planet. We must do our part to mitigate our own climate impacts, become more climate resilient, and lead by example.

Lead by Example, Make your Climate Commitment Official!

Today, just as the governments of the world did, make you commitment to take action on climate change official. Join the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge!

 

November 11, 2016Global

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Leveraging Health Care for a More Sustainable World

Given its mission and influence, health care can lead society to a low carbon, toxic free, sustainable future

In a blog post posted on the Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (SPHS) website, Gary Cohen - HCWH's President and Founder - presents the role of the health sector worldwide to help lead the way towards a low carbon, toxic-free future.

According to Cohen, "Health care can be a leading force for sustainability and environmental health around the world, both by reducing its own carbon footprint and by leveraging its economic clout to bend the arc of the world economy toward more environmentally sound practices. And given the size of the healthcare sector, which represents 10% of the global economy, that impact could be significant."

"We are pleased to be collaborating with UNDP on a project supported by the United Nations and the Skoll Foundation to develop sustainable procurement criteria for the UN’s purchase of more than $5 billion in healthcare products annually. By setting and validating these criteria, the UN, through its Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (SPHS) initiative, can not only develop green criteria for its own procurement, but can establish a framework that can potentially be adopted by ministries of health and health systems the world over."

November 2, 2016Global

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South Africa | GGHH Side Event at World Hospital Congress

Source: groundWork

Durban, South Africa | Health care institutions from around the globe gathered on Sunday (October 30) at the Durban International Convention Center (ICC) for the start of the 40th World Health Congress, under the International Hospital Federation (IHF).

The importance of environmentally healthy health care will intersect with this year’s congress theme “Addressing the Challenge of Patient-Centred Care and Safety” at a side event hosted by Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) in partnership with its South African partner, groundWork.

On October 31, the side event "Global Green and Healthy Health Systems" brought together hospital leaders from Africa that have voluntarily joined Global Green and Healthy Hospitals as well as other leading international health care experts to share approaches to low-carbon, sustainable health care ideas and systems.

Luqman Yesufu, Coordinator of the GGHH Network in Africa and Environmental Health Campaigner at groundWork: "HCWH and its GGHH Network responds to climate change as a major health care challenge by identifying and supporting health sector members around the globe in the replication of models that foster low carbon, sustainable health care solutions. These solutions aim to be financially viable and increasingly resilient to extreme weather events, while enhancing health care delivery and the quality of care to patients."

October 31, 2016Global

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New GGHH Hippocrates Data Center Goes Live!

Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) is proud to announce the launch of Hippocrates Data Center, the first international platform of its kind designed for the health sector to measure actions towards reducing its environmental footprint.

A new, cutting edge tool, Hippocrates puts the power of data management, goal benchmarking, and progress reporting in the hands of each member. GGHH members will now be able to track, store, and visualize the data and progress of their sustainability programs and initiatives…all on a secure web-based platform housed on GGHH Connect.

 

For more information, visit www.greenhospitals.net 

Join our upcoming webinar to learn all about Hippocrates

Save the date! This free, one-hour webinar will provide an overview of Hippocrates, its many features and our data forms on Waste, Energy and climate!

  • Session 1 | November 10 at 7 am Pacific Standard Time/12 pm Buenos Aires/4 pm Central European Time. Click here to register
  • Session 2 | November 11 at 7 am Central European Time/ 7 am South Africa Standard Time/11.45 am Nepal Time/1 pm Philippine Time and China Time. Click here to register

For world clock time converter, please check www.timeanddate.com

October 27, 2016Global

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Health Care Without Harm Supports World Medical Association’s Call for Divestment

During its annual assembly in Taiwan, the World Medical Association (WMA) called on health organizations to divest from fossil fuel based companies and to invest in companies that uphold environmental principles consistent with United Nations policy. Health Care Without Harm supports the WMA's call for divest and similarly urges health care organizations around the world to move towards clean energy solutions.

Given the energy intensive nature of its operations, health care has a moral responsibility to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. By investing in clean energy, greening the supply chain, and empowering employees, the health sector can reduce the health impacts of climate change, save money on energy costs, and help accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

Similarly, divesting from fossil fuels is central to health care’s mission and sends a powerful message from the health sector. "Health professionals divested from tobacco companies because it was in opposition to our healing mission, and now we need to divest from fossil fuels because they threaten the health of billions of people," said Gary Cohen, president and founder of Health Care Without Harm. "We need to kick our addiction to fossil fuels in order to safeguard global health."

"The vulnerable among us, including children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease, and people living in poverty, are most at risk from [climate change]. Yet they are the people least able to adapt to the new conditions," said Dr. Dong Chun Shin, South Korean Medical Association Representative and Chair of the WMA Finance and Planning Committee. "We know that fossil fuel air pollution reduces quality of life for millions of people worldwide, causing a substantial burden of disease, economic loss, and costs to health care systems."

During its meeting, the WMA adopted a policy statement encouraging all 112 of its national medical association members to educate others on both the dangers of climate change and the health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

October 24, 2016Global

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