The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has showcased a comprehensive analysis of greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon footprints for healthcare facilities in the UAE, in yet another significant initiative aimed at developing a roadmap for carbon emission reduction within the healthcare sector, measuring the current carbon footprint, and establishing a national action plan to effectively manage it.
The comprehensive analysis was unveiled during the Ministry’s participation in the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), currently taking place at Expo City Dubai from 30th November to 12th December.
MoHAP is playing a central role in this initiative, which seeks to comprehensively assess the carbon footprint of healthcare facilities across the country. To that end, the Ministry collaborates with subject-matter experts and organisations, adopts global best practices in sustainability, and harnesses technology to enhance efficiency and reduce emissions in healthcare facilities.
Sustainable health systems
Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Public Health Sector at MoHAP, emphasised that the Ministry of Health and Prevention will spare no effort to play a pivotal role in realising the objectives of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability. This commitment was reaffirmed during the UAE's participation in COP26 in Glasgow, where the nation pledged to develop resilient and eco-friendly healthcare systems.
Al Rand stressed that MoHAP’s efforts in this respect come as part of the UAE's overarching strategy to combat climate change and align with global sustainability goals. With a focus on healthcare facilities, the UAE seeks to make substantial strides in reducing its carbon footprint and actively contributing to global climate initiatives.
“The UAE has consistently been a leader among nations in responding to climate change, recognising its significant impact on public health,"
Al Rand said.
"The Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment have collaboratively united to confront the challenges posed by climate change on public health. The UAE's National Framework on Climate Change and Health features initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions within healthcare facilities, involving the modernisation of health infrastructure, the adoption of renewable energy sources, and the implementation of water recycling systems. These measures directly contribute to carbon emissions reduction by enhancing low-carbon technologies within healthcare establishments."
Emission measurement methodology
Dr. Maisoon Al Shaali, Head of the Environment and Occupational Health Department at the Ministry, clarified the rigorous approach adopted for measuring carbon emissions in healthcare facilities. The Ministry strictly adheres to internationally recognised standards, utilising established frameworks like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO 14064:2018 to ensure precise and globally comparable results. The evaluation of the greenhouse gas footprint is conducted based on activity data sourced from healthcare facilities, emission factors, and adherence to the 2006 International Climate Change Guidelines.
Dr. Al Shaali emphasised that when comparing UAE health facilities with their regional and global counterparts, there is considerable potential for emission reduction, as indicated by various standards encompassing research and educational establishments. She noted that health facilities are actively tackling this challenge by initiating and planning projects focused on energy efficiency and medical waste management.
Measuring the carbon emissions in health facilities forms a crucial part of the National Plan for Managing the Carbon Footprint of the Health Sector. It also comes as part of the UAE’s commitment to nurturing a healthy planet and paving the way for a more sustainable future.
Significantly, the Ministry of Health and Prevention took an active role at COP28, participating in an extensive meeting with health ministers from 100 countries worldwide. This assembly saw a unanimous agreement among the health ministers on climate declaration.
Key topics of discussion included evaluating health sector vulnerabilities to climate change, assessing current responses, and developing global adaptation strategies in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). The discussions also revolved around analysing climate-related risks, pinpointing critical areas for intervention, and enhancing the capacity of health systems for effective response.
News Source: Emirates News Agency