Nobel Prize highlights the importance of training to face the effects of climate change on health

Photo: Dunia Alvarez Palacios

Only through the development of a generation of informed and trained professionals in a variety of fields can society intelligently assess the complexities of the interactions between climate and health, said Ana Rosa Moreno Sánchez, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and professor of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Within the framework of the penultimate day of the IV International Convention Cuba-Health 2022, the teacher, when giving her conference Training of human resources to face the effects of climate change on health, stressed that education in the context of climate change must in principle to teach and guide towards new values ​​in the relationship of human beings with the planet.

In this regard, he highlighted that, by improving the collective understanding of climate and health science, more effective adaptation and mitigation strategies can be designed and implemented.

Likewise, he said, these complexities must be taken into account when planning and making infrastructure investment decisions and anticipate the unintended consequences of those decisions at multiple levels.

To do this, he pointed out, empowerment can be achieved through educational activities in health, which are mainly oriented towards a transformation of behaviors and behaviors that can cause harm to people and therefore have a positive impact on environmental quality.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner called for the implementation of initiatives such as strengthening the adaptability of the health system, through education of the population; and educate vulnerable communities involved in adaptation and mitigation measures.

Moreno Sánchez also referred to the importance of training, which should not only be for health workers and those responsible for the health system itself, but also for other professionals in areas directly or indirectly linked to health who must be open to interdisciplinary work when adaptation and mitigation measures are discussed.

The teacher specified that the training of human resources for these challenges leads to address health issues associated with climate change, such as the evaluation of the coping capacity of the community and the local health system; and the strengthening of the adaptive capacity of the health system, through information to the population, surveillance of climate-related diseases, preparation in case of extreme events, vaccination and primary care and mental health care.

Likewise, he added, as part of health education, care for water, savings in energy consumption, recycling, environmental sanitation and response of the early warning system for extreme events should be included.

The UNAM professor noted the imperative for climate and health education to be part of the broader curriculum; meanwhile, health professionals, policymakers, urban planners, engineers, and corporate leaders need more formal education in climate science, public health, and the ways in which climate change and health interrelate.

Photo: Dunia Alvarez Palacios

He further stressed that executive education programs are also needed to provide short training courses on the challenges and opportunities related to health and climate change to senior and mid-level executives, policymakers and government officials. .

Such efforts will facilitate and accelerate the inclusion of climate and health education curricula, increase social awareness of the effects of climate change on health, and seed new lines of research, adaptation and mitigation measures, and opportunities to improve local and regional health.

Ana Rosa Moreno Sánchez, in her speech, contextualized that in recent decades the hydrometeorological events suffered by societies and the interest of the media in climate change have increased the attention of the citizens of practically all countries and a change in the perception of this phenomenon.

He recalled that human-caused climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption of nature, while affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce risks.

Climate change, he warned, is undermining many of the social determinants of good health, such as livelihoods, equity and access to health care, and social support structure.

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Nobel Prize highlights the importance of training to face the effects of climate change on health