- Mohammed Al Olama: Ministry committed to launching and supporting projects and initiatives that fall within the framework of national policy and action plan
- Innovative project on measuring carbon emissions in health facilities
- New initiative to assess and address health sector vulnerability to climate change
- Update on UAE's National Framework for Climate change and Health Impact announced
- Focus on leveraging innovative technology and strategic policies for sustainable healthcaresolutions
UAE:- The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced it is all set to participate in the "Health Day" activities hosted by the 28th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 28), taking place at at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023.
During the event, the Ministry will showcase a number of projects, including "Measuring Carbon Emissions in Health Facilities" and "Measuring and Assessing the Vulnerability of Health to Climate Change." Additionally, it will announce an update to the UAE's national framework on climate change and health, while also emphasizing the crucial role of innovative technology and strategic policies in sustainable healthcare.
MoHAP’s projects have been developed as part of the UAE’s efforts to design practical, effective solutions for mitigating the impact of climate change on human health. The projects focus on detecting changes in health dynamics, monitoring the burden of climate-related diseases, and enhancing readiness and flexibility in response to these challenges.
Carbon emissions in health facilities
Additionally, MoHAP is currently working on a project aimed at measuring carbon emissions in specific health facilities. This project primarily targets specific health facilities to assess the extent of emissions and subsequently formulate a comprehensive plan aimed at reducing these emissions. It comes in line with the national efforts being made to achieve carbon neutrality and strengthen the state's holistic collaboration in environmental preservation and the fight against climate change.
Health and climate change
The UAE's National Framework on Climate Change and its Impact on Health is structured around four main pillars: effective governance, policy development, and participation in safeguarding health against climate change; resilient health systems capable of ongoing monitoring, early warning, and prompt response to climate-related challenges. The framework also prioritizes enhancing the management of environmental health interventions and rallying support to bolster the public health response to climate change.
The Ministry has also carried out a comprehensive assessment of climate change vulnerability within the health sector, utilizing WHO's assessment tools, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and various stakeholders. The implementation process is closely monitored using a set of specific indicators that focus on identifying, describing, and prioritizing the key health outcomes that arise from climate change, pinpointing the populations most at risk from climate-related health issues, and documenting essential background information. Such data collection is crucial for tracking future changes in vulnerability and for the effective evaluation of potential adaptation options.
Bridges of partnership and cooperation
HE Abdulrahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), stated, "We are pleased to be part of this vital global event, through which we look forward to building bridges of partnership and cooperation in the field of sustainable development and climate action, with the presidency of COP28 dedicating for the first time in its history a health day.”
“The Health Day constitutes an international platform to build equitable and climate-resilient health systems at the global level, as it will facilitate the exchange of ideas, opinions, and experiences and the development of future plans that would mobilize global efforts in order to address the impact of climate change on health,” the minister said.
He added: "The Ministry's participation in COP28 reflects the UAE's strong commitment to promoting environmental sustainability and reducing the effects of climate change on health. Guided by the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE prioritizes the preservation of human lives and improving livelihoods, as well as enhancing the health of people and communities across the globe."
Healthy and sustainable future
For his part, HE Dr. Mohammed Salim Al Olama, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), said: "Through our participation in this prestigious event, we look forward to highlighting MoHAP’s commitment to aligning with national trends and supporting international collective efforts to address sustainability challenges. Driven by a shared goal of ensuring a healthy and sustainable future for all of humanity, the Ministry will continue to collaborate and partner with local authorities and relevant international organizations to develop strategic plans, programs, and policies aimed at advancing sustainable healthcare in the face of global climate challenges."
His Excellency emphasized that the Ministry will spare no effort to launch projects and initiatives that fall under a national policy and action plan on health and climate change. These projects will be integrated into the national public health strategy, which includes regular assessments of the health impacts of climate change, updated every two years with new evidence.
National adaptation plans
Meanwhile, HE Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, stated, 'COP28 Health Day holds significant importance as it marks a pursuit of tangible and substantial progress in international efforts concerning health and climate. MoHAP’s involvement in the conference reflects our commitment to enhancing health responses to climate change.”
“We are spearheading projects and initiatives in this arena, developing tools for vulnerability and adaptation assessment, and formulating national adaptation plans for the health sector. We are also working on updating the national framework regarding climate change and its health impact, collaborating with all relevant authorities to forge an environmentally friendly health system resilient to the effects of climate change,” Al Rand noted.
For the first time in its history, the COP28 presidency has dedicated a day to health during the conference. Health Day will address the challenges climate change poses to health systems, advocating for ambitious investments to create resilient and equitable health systems capable of confronting climate-related challenges.
The day will also shed light on the vulnerabilities of government health systems as exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the necessity for profound changes to equip these systems against climate change. Additionally, it will concentrate on the human health risks associated with climate change, including disease mutation and spread.