April 7 is World Health Day.
Let us honor our doctors, nurses, mid-wives, care givers, and other healthcare practitioners by amplifying the call for a climate-resilient and pandemic-prepared health systems - so they may also remain secure, healthy, and safe.
Through the hardwork of our epidemiologists and scientists, we understand that the COVID-19 has a zoonotic origin; caused mostly by the environmental destruction and human encroachment of wildlife's natural habitats.
So, for this year, HCWH in Asia, asked some of its health care climate action advocates, "why must the healthcare sector actively assume its important role in preventing future pandemics like COVID-19 by educating its staff, its community, and the public about environmental sustainability and planetary health?"
We've featured responses from our champions in China, Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines:
While HCWH Southeast Asia partners in the Philippines shared timely and necessary messages for the healthcare sector and the public
MARIA GINA C. NAZARETH, MD, FPCP, FPSN, FACP, MBA, FRCP(E) - President 2019-2020, Philippine College of Physicians (PCP):
"What the world powers and the Paris accord were not able to accomplish in our lifetime, the COVID pandemic was able to do it in a short period of time.
By serendipity, the decrease in fossil fuel consumption during the community quarantine lifted the veil of pollution in the horizon and in our seas and gave nature and our health some time to recover from years of neglect and deterioration. This aftermath, even if it is only temporary, gave way to green friendly practices like tele-health and telework and shifted the health sector’s strategies in containing the spread of the virus and in dispensing healthy advise to patients locked inside their homes.
We now have a better understanding of how ecological balance by maintaining a clean environment and personal hygiene can protect us from disease.
To quote a saying, 'What nature giveth, humans taketh away', speaks of the respect the world expects from us so it can help our species stay on this earth a little longer than where our dreams can take us."
ASIAN MEDICAL STUDENTS ASSOCIATION (AMSA) PHILIPPINES:
"Health is ultimately rooted in the environment because all aspects affect where humanity thrives.
In these difficult times and on facing future global pandemics, we as future front liners and public health physicians have the responsibility in promoting greener policies in hospitals and working on advocacies for health and the environment.
In flattening the curve, we should work on movements adjunct to supporting those in the frontline, educate the people in the importance of health, social, and environmental responsibility, and hold those in positions accountable for the betterment of the health sector and for social welfare in its utmost capability."
The COVID-19 pandemic obliged us to open our eyes wide on the adverse impact of disrupting or destroying the inherent productive balance between humanity and nature. It was our obsession for extractive material production, monetary profit and accelerated, wasteful consumption that made us vulnerable to non human pathogens such as COVID-19.
Increased meat consumption, encroachment of forest reserves, exotic animal trade, rapid urbanization and climate change will give way to deadlier pandemics in the future.
Unless we change course now towards more sustainable production and consumption pattern of living. We don’t need economic stimulus packages that will just reeve up the production level to the same destructive level as before. We must bring back our people and planet to good health from hereon.
To view our social media feature for World Health Day 2020, visit us here