The Minister of Health of the Maldives Abdulla Ameen announced last month at the World Health Assembly in Geneva that his ministry is developing green climate-smart policies for his country’s hospitals based on two reports co-produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Care Without Harm.
The reports provide an analysis of the climate vulnerability of the Maldives’ health care system and a recommended set of policies and strategies to help the country’s health system respond to the impacts of climate change while reducing its own environmental footprint.
“The hospital assessments and the policy recommendations in these reports provide us with rich insight on how to adapt our hospitals to the impacts of climate change and are the basis for the green climate-smart health care policies we are developing for the Maldives,” said Minister Ameen.
Working closely with the Maldives Ministry of Health and WHO, Health Care Without Harm analyzed the ways in which the healthcare system contributes to climate change, is affected by the impacts of climate change and can become more resilient to those changes.
“The health facilities in the Maldives are particularly vulnerable to flooding and rising sea levels driven by climate change,” said Dr. Arvind Mathur, WHO’s Representative to the Maldives. “We anticipate that the ‘policy recommendations and implementation strategies’ outlined in the report will accelerate green, sustainable, climate-smart health care in the Maldives and many other islands states.”
As a small island nation, the Maldives experiences the brunt of climate impacts. As a first responder, the country’s national health system is working to cope with this onslaught, be able to provide health care and reduce its own carbon footprint. The Maldives Ministry of Health is currently working with a broad group of stakeholders and government agencies to evaluate, refine and implement policies based on the reports.
“We hope that these reports can serve as a basis for the Maldives to implement resilient, low-carbon climate-smart strategies that are crucial elements for viable health systems in the age of climate change,” said Health Care Without Harm’s Technical Director for Climate Change Scott Slotterback, one of the reports’ authors. “We also look forward to continuing to work with other governments to do the same.”
Building on this collaboration, the Maldives Ministry of Health became the first national ministry of health to join Health Care Without Harm’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network. This will provide the country’s hospitals access to GGHH’s wide range of guidance documents, webinars, case studies and measurement tools. “We look forward to continuing to learn more about green climate-smart health care through our membership in the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals network,” said Minister Ameen.
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