Caribbean health and climate focal points receive funding and support for health vulnerability and adaptation assessments

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Barbados News







By: (PAHO/WHO)Press release



    Bridgetown, Barbados, February 21, 2022 (PAHO/WHO) – Caribbean countries receive for the first time significant funding and support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) to prepare vulnerability assessments and Adaptation (V&A) in health, a key step in the development of National Health Adaptation Plans (HNAPs) and development of concept notes on climate finance.


    A National Health Adaptation Plan (HNAP) is developed by a country’s Ministry of Health as part of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process. The NAP enables parties to identify medium- and long-term adaptation needs and to develop and implement strategies and programs to meet those needs. Under the European Union (EU)/CARIFORUM project to strengthen climate-resilient health systems, eight countries will receive funding for HNAP readiness. Regional focal points for health and climate met on February 16 and 17 to seek advice and share best practices. Nearly 80 participants from across the region heard from consultants and focal points from Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia is currently collecting data for its capacity assessment, while in Grenada the V&A process began in August 2021. In Dominica, the V&A assessment was completed and submitted in 2016.


    Some of the benefits described were the integration of climate change responses into health and disaster management planning, increased climate and health awareness, in particular, among health personnel, and the identification of climate-sensitive diseases, such as vector-borne, food- and water-borne diseases. related diseases and the impact of extreme weather events on the health system. So far, only one Caribbean country has completed an HNAP, five countries are in the development phase, seven have a NAP or similar document that includes health, one country has a NAP that does not include health, and two countries do not have a NAP or similar document. a similar document.


    PAHO continues to urge, and through this project, will support health authorities and relevant agencies to develop evidence-based national action plans and/or national health adaptation plans to protect the health of the population against the risks of climate change. “Climate change is a ‘risk multiplier’, amplifying current challenges and highlighting the vulnerabilities of communities and critical systems, including healthcare, to these hazards… In summary, V&A health assessments aim to provide a better understanding of climate-related risks to health and relevant and actionable recommendations for decision-makers to strengthen health systems and increase the resilience of vulnerable people to the impacts of climate change,” noted the program director Subregional Officer of the PAHO Subregional Office for the Caribbean, Dean Chambliss.


    CCCCC Executive Director, Dr. Colin Young, highlighted the project’s timeliness and ability to build climate resilience of health systems in CARIFORUM countries, drawing particular attention to vulnerabilities in the health sector. health exposed by COVID-19 and ongoing climate change. . “As we all know, the adverse effects of climate change have not stopped during the pandemic…Climate change will continue to undermine our sustainable development trajectory and push our ability to cope and adapt to the brink for a long time. after the current pandemic is over. Thus, we must use the knowledge and experience gained in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change to urgently build the climate resilience of our health systems,” said Dr Colin Young.


    Dr. Jonathan Drewry and Dr. Daniel Buss from PAHO gave an overview of the project and explained how the V&A assessment fits into the NAPs and HNAPs. Participants also heard from the experience of Panama, from Mario Quijada where a V&A health assessment was carried out, as well as from Dr. Peter Berry, Senior Policy Analyst and Science Advisor in the Office of Climate Change and Innovation of Health Canada, which described that country’s request. Health V&A orientation tools.


    Under the multiannual regional indicative program for the Americas and the Caribbean 2021-2027, the EU is committed to supporting regional and national efforts to increase the effectiveness and ambition of action and policy climate change, including adaptation policy. “Globally, and in support of actions in the Caribbean region, the EU and a number of European MSAs are supporting the Global Climate Promise which helps governments in the region put adaptation at the heart of their national climate commitments and to create stronger links with policy and planning processes, including national adaptation plans,” said Donna Gittens, Program Manager, Climate Change, Delegation of the United States. EU of the European Union in Barbados, OECS and CARIFORUM.


    The workshop followed the organization of the National Health Adaptation Plan Workshop held in December 2020 and the Conference on Climate Change and Health in SIDS: Focus on the Caribbean, organized October 5-8, 2021. Project implementation uses a cross-sectoral approach involving a network of sub-regional implementing partners (CARICOM, CARPHA, CCCCC, CIMH and UWI) as well as the United Nations and other organizations .




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