PAHO leads climate change workshop

Last week about 50 people from the Cayman Islands public and private sectors attended a two-day session, organised by the Pan American Health Organization and the Ministry of Health, on the impacts of climate change on health and health systems.

According to a government news release, “local public and private stakeholders are set to collaborate on a special climate change and health chapter to go into the draft National Climate Change Policy”.

“Our vision is that, by 2030, all small island developing states will have health systems resilient to climate change.

In addition countries around the world will reduce their carbon emissions to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks, and to deliver large-scale health benefits in carbon-emitting countries,” said PAHO Consultant for Family, Health Promotion and the Life Course Nasolo Thompson.

Representatives from PAHO, the regional office for the World Health Organization, said the health sector must reduce its carbon footprint, including making healthcare facilities more environmentally friendly and resistent to natural disasters.

Avalon Porter of the National Weather Service presented on the impact of climate change on Cayman’s weather patterns. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Officer of the Ministry of Health and Environment Nancy Barnard, gave an overview of presentations at a recent Caribbean workshop on climate change and health in Grenada.

Other topics on the agenda included: the impact of climate change on environmental determinants of health, building climate resilient health systems, the Action Plan on Health and Climate Change for the Caribbean, and the importance of an inter-sectoral approach to climate change.

Health and Environment Minister Dwayne Seymour cited rising temperatures and related catastrophes of recent years as evidence of the need for continuing the multi-sectoral action that marked the creation of the draft policy.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank PAHO/WHO for funding and organising the event with my ministry staff in order to enhance the role of the health sector and key stakeholders in mitigating and adapting to climate change,” he said.

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