Health Care

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 

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

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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HCWH Participates in 2016 Infection Control Africa Network Congress

Ruth Stringer, HCWH Global Science and Policy Coordinator and Susan Wilburn, Sustainability Director, GGHH, participated in the 6th International Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN) Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa. During September 25th and 26th, Ruth Stringer presented the options for African health care systems to improve Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and spoke about the marriage of waste management and IPC for patient and worker safety.

“Some technologies and materials used in infection control can harm the environment, which in turn can harm our health. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest per capita rate of environmentally related deaths. To prevent inadvertent harm, we are presenting information about how African healthcare systems can access infection control tools to reduce disease without having an impact on the environment”, explains Ruth Stringer.

The event featured international experts discussing global matters such as antimicrobial resistance and stewardship, Ebola, and water borne diseases. This allows countries that are in the process of establishing national IPC programs the opportunity to share their experiences with colleagues across the continent. The conference also addressed IPC education, mother and child infections, disinfection and sterilization (a major concern in Africa), environmental cleaning, MERSCoV, tuberculosis and IPC. Drawing on the Ebola experience, the role of the community in containing outbreaks was discussed.

With over 290 members in 24 countries, ICAN has grown to become the voice of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in Africa. It promotes and facilitates the establishment of infection control programs, achievement and maintenance of infection reduction, including health care associate infections, and promotes antimicrobial stewardship activities through education, and by working with infection prevention structures in Africa and other international health related associations.

ICAN is the largest infection control organization in Africa and has gone from strength to strength in education, training and extensive networking across Africa.

October 18, 2016Global

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Asia | HCWH Urges Governments to Invest in Low Carbon, Climate-Resilient Health Care

Manila, Philippines — As health and environment leaders meet this week in Manila for the World Health Organization’s Asia Pacific Regional Forum on Environment and Health (4th Regional Forum), Health Care Without Harm Asia urges governments of Southeast and East Asian countries to protect public health from climate change and to invest in building low-carbon and climate-resilient health facilities.

Health Care Should be Prepared for Climate Change

Many countries in the region, including the Philippines, are some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The British medical journal The Lancet has referred to climate change as the "biggest global health threat of the 21st century," from extreme weather events, changes in patterns of diseases, increase in vector-borne diseases, and water and food insecurity affecting people’s health and well-being.

"Considering the climate change’s major impacts on people’s health, health care needs to help lead the efforts to address this, one of the greatest problems of our time.   Our hospitals need to be the last buildings standing in an extreme weather event; our health systems must adapt to the shifting burden of disease; and we must reduce our own carbon footprint, which is quite large in some countries," explained HCWH International Director of Program and Strategy, Josh Karliner, who will be presenting on green, low-carbon, climate-resilient health care during the pre-forum (...).

Pushing for low-carbon health care

"Hospitals and health systems that consume loads of energy can save money and reduce their footprint by implementing low carbon health care development strategies," added Karliner.   "A low carbon health care approach is also ideal for many developing countries because renewables such as solar and wind can help power health facilities where otherwise there is no reliable energy source." 

October 5, 2016Global

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WHO Releases Country Estimates on Air Pollution Exposure and Health Impact

Source: World Health Organization

A new World Health Organization (WHO) air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. Information is presented via interactive maps, highlighting areas within countries that exceed WHO limits.

“The new WHO model shows countries where the air pollution danger spots are, and provides a baseline for monitoring progress in combatting it,” says Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO. It also represents the most detailed outdoor (or ambient) air pollution-related health data, by country, ever reported by WHO. The model is based on data derived from satel­lite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors for more than 3000 loca­tions, both rural and urban. It was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom.

For more information on the global assessment of exposure and burden of disease, interactive map, FAQs and press release, please click here.

September 30, 2016Global

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Registration Now Open! Conference on Climate and Health Care

COP22, November 14, 2016

Marrakech, Morocco


morocco-page-imageAs world leaders convene in Marrakech to map out strategies to achieve the climate goals agreed upon in Paris, Health Care Without Harm and The Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakech are pleased to host the Climate and Health Care Conference – COP22.

This one-day conference brings together health sector representatives and experts from around the world to discuss the integral role of health care in this global effort. Speakers, including representatives from the government, private, and public sector of host country, Morocco, will present strategies and success stories on how health care can mitigate its climate impacts, develop low carbon models of care, and prepare to stand resilient in the face of a changing climate.


  • To register, click here. Space is limited.
  • Confirmation of registration will be provided following submission of the registration form.
September 21, 2016Global

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