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WHO’s Framework for Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Health Systems

Why is it in the news?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced a framework designed to enhance the resilience of health systems while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with the aim of safeguarding the health of communities globally.

Key Objectives:

  • Guiding Health Sector Professionals: The framework serves as a guide for health sector professionals to collaborate effectively in addressing climate-related challenges.
  • Developing Comprehensive Strategies and Plans: It supports the development of comprehensive and practical strategies, such as national climate change and health strategies, and plans, including the health component of National Adaptation Plans (HNAP).
  • Defining Roles and Responsibilities: The framework outlines roles and responsibilities for health decision-makers, ensuring a clear understanding of their contributions to climate resilience and low-carbon health systems.

Components of the Framework: The framework proposes interventions around 10 key components, which are not specified but are integral to building climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems.

Alignment with ATACH: The framework is crucial for the implementation of the Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH) goals. ATACH, established by WHO in 2022, is an informal voluntary network that works to realize the ambition set at COP26 to build climate-resilient and sustainable health systems.

Importance of Sustainable Health Systems:

  • Sustainable health systems play a vital role in addressing climate change and its impacts on health.
  • The health sector itself is responsible for approximately 5% of the global GHG emissions.
  • By reducing GHG emissions, sustainable health systems contribute to environmental protection and mitigate climate change.
  • Additionally, sustainable health systems help reduce the generation of environmentally harmful healthcare waste, with around 15% of healthcare waste being considered hazardous material.
  • The adoption of sustainable practices can lead to cost savings, making healthcare more accessible and affordable for communities.

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