Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention is in the forefront of protecting human health from climate change and is taking urgent efforts to mitigate its effects.
Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of the Department of Public Health, and Prevention at MoHAP, told Gulf News that the ministry was not waiting for climate change to hit human health, rather it was taking a proactive role to reduce its effects on humans.
“We are bringing to the table that health is the human face of climate change. We are not waiting for changes to happen so it will affect health. That is why we are putting it upfront, trying to mitigate and adapt measures to reduce its effects on human health,” Al Marzouqi said.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention has effectively participated in COP28, with December 3 being designated as a day to focus on health, a fist for a COP.
“We hosted a session on the health response on climate change in the UAE. That was with the ministry and the health authority where we discussed effective ways and solutions to protect human health from climate changes,” Al Marzouqi said. Innovative ways, especially regarding technology and AI to reduce carbon emissions from healthcare facilities, were also discussed.
Al Marzouqi said the ministry was working on a project to measure the carbon footprint of health facilities, aiming to have a baseline for future action. It is also working on activities to reduce and manage carbon emissions at the healthcare sector, she said.
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“Health and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. It is important to sustain health, have a good life and improve the wellbeing of people in the community, to care for their health and the environment in which they are living. That is why sustainability is very important. We can see increased heat waves and dust storms, all affecting human health. That is why we are trying to intervene to help sustainability and thus reduce the effect of climate change on human health,” Al Marzouqi said.
Framework on Climate Change and Health updated
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has unveiled an updated version of the UAE National Framework on Climate Change and Health as a proactive measure against the health impacts of climate change and air pollution.
Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and in coordination with relevant government agencies at the state level, the framework is designed to safeguard community well-being and mitigate climate-related health risks.
The updated framework was announced during a session organised by the Ministry on the sidelines of the COP28 at Expo City Dubai.
The national framework is built on several key pillars, including governance, policies, and community engagement to safeguard health from climate change effects.
It also emphasises the need for resilient health systems, efficient surveillance, early warning, response mechanisms, and the enhancement of environmental health interventions. Furthermore, the framework aims to garner support for bolstering public health responses to climate change challenges.
Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, said, “Proactively addressing climate change’s health implications is a top priority for the UAE government. The Ministry of Health and Prevention recognizes that having robust tools for disease monitoring, surveillance, and prediction is a fundamental element in realizing our vision of establishing a world-leading healthcare system. Introducing the updated UAE national framework on climate change and health is a significant step towards implementing effective measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and air pollution on public health.”