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(Part II) SIFC, From Vision to Reality (Part II) A New Dawn in Pakistan's Agriculture The Crowdsourcing Practices The Last Post: Eulogy of a Hero Securing Tomorrow’s Food: Sustainable Agriculture and Aquaculture in Pakistan The Saindak Copper-Gold Project: A Beacon of Pak-China Friendship and Prosperity Prime Minister of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and COAS Visit Muzaffarabad CJCSC Calls on Minister of Defense, KSA 7th International PATS Exercise-2024 Held at NCTC, Pabbi CNS Visits Coastal Belt of Sindh and Coastal Areas of Balochistan to Oversee the Conduct of Exercise Seaspark-2024 Keel Laying Ceremony of the Second HANGOR Class Submarine Held at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Chinese Ambassador Calls on Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Navy Demonstrates Combat Readiness with Live Missile Firing Exercise in the North Arabian Sea PAF's Jf-17 Thunder Block-III Fighter Jet Participates in World Defense Air Show-2024 A Day of Celebration and Global Solidarity: Pakistan Day Parade 2024 Gaza: A Tragedy Beyond Words Better Late than Never... 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Pakistani Peacekeepers and the International Peacekeeping Day Empowering Pakistan: Navigating the Path to Sustainable Energy Autarky Overpopulation: Navigating Challenges and Charting Solutions for Pakistan Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Friendship: Dawn of a New Era SIFC, From Vision to Reality (Part IV) A Tale of Two Sultans: Brigadier Sultan Ahmed, SJ & Bar (Part II) In the Footsteps of Valor: A Journey through Peshawar Garrison Pakistan Military Academy Passing Out Parade-2024 CGS Turkish Armed Forces Calls on COAS Green Pakistan Initiative Conference Highlights National Commitment to Agricultural Innovation and Economic Growth Commander Turkish Land Forces Calls on COAS Minister of Foreign Affairs, KSA, Calls on COAS Assistant Minister of Defense, KSA, Calls on COAS PAF Academy Asghar Khan Hosts Prestigious Graduation Ceremony for Aviation Cadets Faculty and Students from Muzaffargarh Government Post Graduate College Visit Multan Garrison
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Maham Khan Afridi

The writer is an undergraduate scholar of Public Administration at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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Hilal English

The Impact of Climate Change on Global Health: Building Resilient Health Systems

April 2024

This article discusses the urgent need to address the impact of climate change on global health, highlighting the measures needed to be taken in this regard. It also provides insight into the significance of World Health Day for Pakistan and the way forward for its healthier future.



With the health sector grappling with unprecedented challenges, the global health community is raising its voice to ensure that the impact of climate change on health takes center stage in the negotiations. It is imperative to broaden the focus to discuss human health on global platforms while also addressing the glaring disparity in financial support between the health and climate sectors.
Millions of people are at risk as a result of the simultaneous rise in infectious diseases like cholera, influenza, malaria, and dengue brought on by climate change. It is now necessary to take coordinated and collaborative action to mitigate the adverse effects of the climate catastrophe on people's health by creating sustainable and resilient health systems worldwide. This leaves no room for excuses and compels negotiators to recognize that they bear the responsibility for the well-being of our most invaluable asset: the health of populations worldwide.
The journey towards climate resilience is a collective effort that requires intensified cooperation between the health sector and other health-related sectors (such as agriculture, environment, etc.). It extends beyond the realm of international organizations and encompasses governments, private sector entities, and civil society. If all such institutions work together, we can mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. Departments of environmental health, disaster management, vector control, health information systems, policymaking, and financing must collaborate to address the multifaceted challenges that arise due to the intersection of climate change and health. This coordinated approach leverages expertise and resources across these sectors to achieve shared objectives. Moreover, such collaborative efforts facilitate the mobilization and distribution of financial resources, technology transfer, and capacity building, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries where climate change impacts on health are most acute. This ensures that societies are resilient and well-prepared to confront the health challenges of a changing climate for current and future generations.
As climate change evolves into a public health crisis, with each passing year, we witness a rise in humanitarian crises triggered by escalating heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and tropical storms. Specific factors that exacerbate the impacts of climate change on health, especially among the most vulnerable societies, include poor governance and limited policies on climate preparedness and adaptation, social inequities, high levels of poverty, labor informality, and inadequate health systems.
Healthcare systems around the world will become more vulnerable if immediate action is not taken against the unprecedented challenges posed by climate change. The health community advocates for greening the health sector by recognizing the crucial role of health systems in contributing to emissions. It is imperative to strengthen healthcare systems to be resilient and sustainable. By extending early warning systems for the outbreak of climate-sensitive infectious diseases, health systems can enhance their climate resilience. In developing countries, there is a dire need to set up health infrastructures that can withstand extreme weather conditions by investing financially in resilient buildings, emergency power supplies, and water storage systems. The 5 percent of global emissions attributed to the health sector annually can be reduced by decarbonizing health systems, digitalizing medicine, and implementing sustainable practices in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
An essential contribution can be made to tackle some climate-related health challenges by reforming global governance, including revising the International Health Regulations and negotiating a new pandemic treaty after the COVID-19 pandemic. Universal health coverage is a precursor to building climate-resilient health systems as it builds social harmony, catalyzes economic development and improves efficiency by reducing poverty and inequality. It ensures everyone has equitable access to quality and affordable essential health services when needed. It is also critical to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by improving global health indicators because it can deliver substantial benefits at a population level.
The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), November 30, 2023 to December 13, 2023 marked the historic inclusion of health in climate discussions. It provided a key impetus for the rapid and sustainable reduction of emissions and acceleration of necessary climate adaptation strategies in the health sector by highlighting the urgent need for resilient health systems amid climate change. Nations recognize the intertwined future of climate change and health and are striving to adopt the Climate and Health Declaration.


The journey towards climate resilience is a collective effort that requires intensified cooperation between the health sector and other health-relevant sectors (such as agriculture, environment, etc.). It extends beyond the realm of international organizations and encompasses governments, private sector entities, and civil society.


The health sector can play a considerably significant role in the global reduction of emissions. This can be achieved by reducing emissions produced through electricity used by healthcare facilities and by decreasing emissions created during the production, packaging, and transport of healthcare products. Sustainably constructing healthcare facilities can also contribute to reducing emissions. Moreover, healthcare providers can create a demand for sustainably produced goods and services by combining their purchasing power through joint procurement decisions.
Technology plays a crucial role in building climate-resilient health systems. By leveraging technological innovations such as telemedicine and health informatics, healthcare delivery and response capabilities can be enhanced. Individuals can receive medical attention during extreme weather events when physical access to healthcare facilities may be limited, using 'telehealth' solutions that provide remote access to healthcare services. Moreover, health informatics is crucial in predicting climate-sensitive disease outbreaks, allowing for early detection and rapid implementation of response measures. Public health and social well-being can be safeguarded globally by harnessing technology and healthcare systems as they become more adaptive and resilient in the face of the challenges posed by climate change.
Climate change and health should be included in medical education at the undergraduate, graduate, and higher education levels. Medical students at the undergraduate level should receive foundational training that focuses on developing a basic understanding of the interactions between climate change and health, including the impacts of environmental factors on disease patterns and the role of public health interventions in mitigating climate-related health risks. Students should be encouraged to engage in applied research, and their findings should be translated into practice through evidence-based decision-making.
Health and climate research increase knowledge about climate health risks and the level of global and local preparedness. It also provides policymakers with up-to-date information to help them create climate and health policies. Research that focuses on the risks of climate change on health and vulnerable groups, the climate sensitivity of diseases, and the design and evaluation of effective adaptation and protective measures prepare healthcare professionals to respond to the immediate health challenges of climate change. Additionally, it equips them to play a leadership role in advancing climate-resilient healthcare systems and promoting health equity in a changing world.
Developing countries in Asia and the Pacific are among the regions most vulnerable to climate change, a situation further exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which underscores the urgent need to strengthen healthcare systems. For countries like Pakistan, climate change is not a distant threat; it is a present danger, as Pakistan ranks as the fifth-most climate-vulnerable country in the world. Our health community asserts that climate change is already affecting the health of our citizens, contributing to the spread of infectious diseases and vector-borne illnesses. Therefore, there is an urgent need for negotiators to comprehend that climate change is a direct threat to public health in Pakistan that can no longer be ignored or downplayed. 
On World Health Day, April 7, 2024, as a Pakistani nation, we should propel progress towards a climate-resilient health system by prioritizing public health amidst the growing threats of climate change. We must proactively address these challenges by conducting multi-sectoral assessments of climate vulnerability and adapting our national health systems. By identifying feasible and practical uses of low-carbon, energy-efficient, and climate-smart technology, we can explore all options for upgrading existing health infrastructure to enhance resilience, including incorporating renewable energy for health facilities in Pakistan.
Collaboration between the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, the Ministry of Climate Change, and the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) can leverage funding for health system resilience. Using data on expected health impacts, climate change should be a significant risk factor in national emergency planning and preparedness. Relevant authorities should update public health programs at national and provincial levels to include climate risks for integrated health and other related programs.
To move forward, we should emphasize climate resilience within our health policies, improve leadership and governance, advance our research, and promote investment in sustainable technologies. Through collaborative action, we can navigate the complexities of climate change, safeguarding Pakistan's population and fostering a healthier and more secure future for our coming generations.


The writer is an undergraduate scholar of Public Administration at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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Maham Khan Afridi

The writer is an undergraduate scholar of Public Administration at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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