“We are putting on the table that health is the human face of climate change. We are not waiting for changes to occur that affect health. That is why we are prioritizing it, trying to mitigate and adapt measures to reduce its effects on human health,” said Al Marzouqi.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention has effectively participated in COP28, designating December 3 as a day to focus on health, a fist for a COP.
“We organized a session on the health response to climate change in the United Arab Emirates. It was with the ministry and the health authority where we discussed effective ways and solutions to protect human health from climate changes,” Al Marzouqi said. Innovative ways, especially in technology and artificial intelligence, to reduce carbon emissions from healthcare facilities were also discussed.
Al Marzouqi said the ministry was working on a project to measure the carbon footprint of health facilities, with the aim of having a basis for future actions. He is also working on activities to reduce and manage carbon emissions in the health sector, he said.
“Health and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. It is important to maintain health, have a good life and improve the well-being of people in the community, take care of their health and the environment in which they live. That is why sustainability is very important. We can see an increase in heat waves and dust storms, and all of them affect human health. That is why we are trying to intervene to help sustainability and thus reduce the effect of climate change on human health,” said Al Marzouqi.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has introduced 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 Organization and in 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 organized by the Ministry on the sidelines of COP28 at Expo City Dubai.
The national framework is built on several key pillars, including governance, policy and community engagement to safeguard health from the effects of climate change.
It also emphasizes the need for resilient health systems, efficient surveillance, early warning, response mechanisms and the improvement of environmental health interventions. Additionally, the framework aims to garner support for strengthening public health responses to the challenges of climate change.
Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Deputy Undersecretary of the Public Health Sector, said: “Proactively addressing the health implications of climate change is a top priority for the UAE government. The Ministry of Health and Prevention recognizes that having robust tools for disease monitoring, surveillance and prediction is a fundamental element in realizing our vision of establishing a world-leading health system. “The introduction of the UAE’s updated national framework on climate change and health is an important step towards implementing effective measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and air pollution on public health.”