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Addressing Climate Change's Health Impacts: Philippines' National Consultative Meeting

Updated: 6 hours ago

Dr. Gallo with America members and guests

In an unprecedented world where challenges arise inevitably, climate change is one of the challenges that everyone is facing right now. With that in mind, the Philippines takes a pioneering step towards safeguarding public health with the National Consultative Meeting for Adaptation of Climate Change Toolkit. The conference was organized by Americares Philippines, which is a relief and development organization with a focus on health. It aims to enhance the well-being of millions of individuals grappling with poverty, disasters, and inequality annually.

Through the backing of more than 4,000 health centers globally and the implementation of impactful health initiatives and medicine donations, Americares plays a pivotal role in improving the health outcomes of those in need. This crucial event last November 20, 2023, at Harold’s Evotel in Quezon City, brings together a notable lineup of speakers and stakeholders, with a shared commitment to fortify frontline clinics against the health impacts of climate change.

Understanding the Urgency

Some may claim that Climate Change is all about the Environment or the Ecosystem, and health is not a matter of concern when it comes to this problem. But the very environment that is affected by climate change is the one we humans live in. To make a point, climate change is not just about extreme weather events; it's a profound threat to public health. In line with this, the Department of Health, in collaboration with Dr. Ramon Lorenzo Ruiz Guinto, Director of Planetary Health at St. Luke’s Medical Center, and Dr. Caleb Dresser, Director of Healthcare Solutions at the Harvard Center for Climate Change and the Global Environment, attended the event as keynote speakers who recognize the imperative to address this intersection of environmental and human health.

The Workshop's Mission

Americares, in alliance with a diverse range of partners, spanning government agencies, professional associations, medical schools, and non-government organizations, convened a national workshop with a singular goal—to adapt and localize health toolkits addressing climate change impacts for use in frontline clinics. In order to produce culturally appropriate adaptations of the toolkits that the Harvard Center for Climate Change and the Global Environment has crafted with much detail, the workshop delves deeply into the devastating implications of climate change on public health.

Key Players in the Mission

While the event boasts an impressive lineup of speakers, a national consultative committee was invited including Dr. Arthur Gallo and Carolina Manansala-Yap from ABC’s for Global Health. These individuals, alongside other stakeholders, form a vital part of the national consultative committee, diligently evaluating toolkits tailored to tackle specific climate-related health challenges.

Heat-Related Illnesses in Focus

One of the toolkits on the agenda is dedicated to Heat-Related Illnesses. This is connected to the country’s nature as a tropical country that is predisposed to extreme hot conditions. With the Philippines experiencing rising temperatures and an increased frequency of heatwaves, the toolkit provides comprehensive information on the preparation required, the management of affected patients, and the crucial process of post-recovery evaluation. It encompasses valuable insights for both the patients and the healthcare professionals involved, covering prevention, treatment, and the overall management of heat-related illnesses.

Expanding the Toolkit Arsenal

Beyond heat-related illnesses, the toolkit initiative is branching out to cover a spectrum of climate-related challenges. Typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and more are being addressed to equip healthcare facilities with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively respond to emergencies triggered by a changing climate.

The Road Ahead

The National Consultative Meeting marks a pivotal moment in fortifying the Philippine healthcare system against the looming threat of climate change. The collaboration between Americares, government agencies, medical professionals, and various stakeholders underscores a shared commitment to building resilience and ensuring the well-being of communities.

As the Philippines takes bold strides towards adapting healthcare practices to the challenges posed by climate change, the National Consultative Meeting stands as a beacon of hope. The commitment of diverse stakeholders, combined with the expertise of renowned speakers, promises a future where frontline clinics are not just reactive but proactive in safeguarding public health against the unpredictable impacts of a changing climate. This event is not just about adapting to change; it's about empowering communities to thrive despite it.

About ABC's for Global Health: 

ABC's for Global Health is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and non-government organization in the Philippines dedicated to finding practical solutions to the health problems of disadvantaged and underserved communities, focusing on emerging chronic non-communicable diseases that threaten the already limited resources of families, individuals, and governments.

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