Our two Climate lightning talk speakers, Fiona Armstrong, Founder of Climate and Health Alliance from Australia and Ashley Lashley, Executive Director of the Ashley Lashley Foundation and UNICEF Youth Advocate from Barbados, shared their thoughts about how Humanising Healthcare must also include a focus on climate change.
Both Fiona and Ashley talked about how climate change affects our health in multiple ways, impacting people differently depending on vulnerabilities and their access to healthcare. Inspired by the IEEPO Position Paper, there was a discussion on the importance of building resilient healthcare systems and collaborating with stakeholders to achieve positive outcomes and policy change.
FIONA’S KEY TAKEAWAY: Ultimately we must move people to action, influence policy through advocacy and build capacity for leadership. For us to succeed, we should promote recognition of the issue and create a common link of mutual interest about how health is linked to all matters of society’s well being. Patient organisations should also emphasise the need for sustainable and resilient healthcare. How? Communication is key and so are the voices of patients in bringing this issue to the forefront.
Fiona also highlighted that the Climate and Health Alliance works through collaboration with over 100 groups including healthcare service providers to achieve positive outcomes and policy change on health and climate change. She showcased the practical ways in which they have worked towards their vision of ‘Healthy, Regenerative and Just’.
- Developing a policy framework to achieve policy outcomes - working via consultations with stakeholders
- Taking insights about what they want to see into the framework and lobbying government
- Activating members by providing education to health leaders to support them to meet with decision makers and urge them to act
- Developing factsheets to move people to action
ASHLEY’S KEY TAKEAWAY: Global climate change has resulted in a wide variety of health issues and has impacted distribution, quality of water and food supplies that have led to food and waterborne diseases. There is also an impact of climate change on the mental health of young people. We need to strengthen healthcare systems - not just physical infrastructure, but also in terms of expanding services.
Ahsley highlighted an ambassador's message from the The Hey Campaign, which stated that ‘climate change is an economic, public health and environmental issue that we all have a moral responsibility to address’. Together, we all have a role to play. More climate activists are needed to address the intersection of climate change and its impacts on public health and healthcare.
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