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 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 ongoing 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 Under-Secretary 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 recognises that having robust tools for disease monitoring, surveillance, and prediction is a fundamental element in realising 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."
Al Rand added, "
The Ministry has collaborated with its partners to revise the national framework, building upon the experiences gained since its initial launch in 2019. This update ensures that we stay aligned with global changes and climate shifts, enabling us to anticipate the consequences of these developments on disease patterns. Ultimately, this proactive approach is aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of our community members."
Dr. Maisoon Al Shaali, Head of the Environmental and Occupational Health Department at the Ministry, and Dr. Mazen Malkawi, representing the World Health Organisation, took part in a panel discussion that ensued after the unveiling of the updated national framework.
The discussion was attended by an audience comprising health and environmental policymakers, healthcare and climate change experts, researchers, and individuals with a vested interest in climate-related matters.
During the session, discussions revolved around the pivotal role of the UAE's National Framework on Climate Change and Health as a strategic response to the public health challenges stemming from climate change.
Participants emphasised the importance of aligning this framework with international best practices to ensure its efficacy and long-term relevance in tackling health issues associated with climate change.
The session delved into various key aspects, including the necessity of revising current climate change and health policies, integrating climate change considerations into health policies and strategies, and bolstering community engagement.
The session highlighted the necessity of raising awareness about the health implications of climate change, fostering collaboration among government entities, the private sector, and international organisations, and establishing robust surveillance systems to monitor the health impacts linked to climate change.
Dr. Maisoon Al Shaali emphasised that the valuable discussions involving experts from various fields of health, environmental policy, and climate change will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the framework. These dialogues are expected to formulate evidence-based policies and strategies that effectively address the health ramifications of climate change, ultimately ensuring the well-being of the population. She noted that the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and best practices among participants plays a crucial role in raising awareness and building capacity regarding climate change and its impact on health.
It is noteworthy that, as part of its commitment to updating the UAE's national framework on climate change and health, the Ministry of Health and Prevention conducted training workshops in collaboration with the Regional Office of the World Health Organisation and coordination with relevant government entities.
These workshops focused on assessing the vulnerability of health to climate change, discussing methods to evaluate the risks associated with air pollution on health, and included practical exercises to train participants in measuring and assessing health vulnerability to climate change. The workshops also addressed the evaluation of existing response and adaptation options within the healthcare sector.
News Source: Emirates News Agency