January 31, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

SEA doctors call for health-oriented climate protection measures

Gaea Katreena Cabico – Philstar.com

November 7, 2022 | 9:37 a.m

MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian medical professionals at the COP27 summit urged governments to move towards a clean energy future and put health at the heart of climate policies.

Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia Monday stressed that health is a human right and climate change is a public health issue.

Climate change is making millions of people sick or more vulnerable to disease, and low-income and vulnerable communities are disproportionately affected.

“We live in a time when the twin crises of fossil fuel-driven climate change and disease outbreaks have merged. Their combination exacerbates ecological degradation and health problems, builds on each other, and increasingly damages the fabric of our society,” said H. Suherman, MKM of the RISE Southeast Asia Alliance for Health and Climate in Indonesia.

“Therefore, in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam, the impacts of climate change are not only real but amplifying,” he added.

In the Philippines, hurricanes and flash floods devastate villages, resulting in deaths and damage to homes and agriculture.

READ: What went wrong: Paeng’s high death toll

HCWH Southeast Asia called on governments participating in Egypt’s climate change negotiations to commit to the following recommendations:

Developing low-carbon and sustainable health systems through a just energy transition towards a healthy world without fossil fuels. Strengthen their emission reduction targets, with developed countries taking the lead in phasing out all fossil fuels. Provide technical and financial support to developing countries to facilitate a clean energy transition Build climate-resilient health systems that ensure the delivery of health services, particularly sexual and reproductive health, in times of shocks and disasters Develop a national health adaptation plan Ensure the operationalization of the Santiago Loss and Damage Network, a network of organizations and experts who can provide technical assistance to climate-vulnerable countries. Increase climate finance grants, not loans, to countries in the Global South. Achieve balanced financial support for mitigation and adaptation. Funding for fitting should be at least 50% and interventions with additional health benefits should be prioritized

“The call for a future free of extractive, polluting and harmful fossil fuels is driving the climate change agenda in health care in Southeast Asia. Our role as healthcare workers is therefore to support this plan of action by advocating for health to be integrated into all climate policies and vice versa,” said Esperanza Cabral, former director of the Philippine Ministry of Health.