Why Climate Change Matters for Future Health Professionals

climate change indonesia

Kota Garut, Indonesia (Indonesia, 2019)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Amro Aglan, a final year medical student at Tanta University, Egypt &  Ms. Emma Aneshansley, recent graduate from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts where she studied Health Science and Public Health. They both  are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


12.6 million people die every year from causes associated with pollution and climate change. This equates to one in four deaths worldwide. What is the most terrifying part? The largest environmental risk to human health is through our most basic need—the air that we breathe. Most of the time, people do not even realize when they are inhaling air containing a noxious concoction of industrial fumes and fine particulate matter.

Climate change affects air quality, decreases access to safe water and food security; in addition, it increases the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Therefore, it is considered one of the leading environmental threats to public health with an expected increase of 250,000 annual deaths from 2030 to 2050 if it is not addressed effectively.

As previous interns in the WHO Public Health & Environment Unit, we comprehensively see the magnitude of this crisis. Climate change knows no boundaries and impacts all fields of our work as future health professionals, from optometry to child and maternal care to neurology. However, we also see how our generation is passionate and capable to transform the perception of climate change as the greatest threat to the greatest opportunity for action. So the question is: What can we—as health students—do to combat this global emergency?

First, raising awareness is imperative at both individual and community levels. We must develop an understanding that without action on climate change, it will increase as a health threat to civil society. It is also our duty to raise awareness regarding individual mitigation actions that have various health co-benefits and lead by example. For instance: bike to your school. This reduces traffic pollution, lowers rates of traffic injury risks and decreases traffic noise stress. On a personal level, it contributes towards the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, obesity-related risks and overall wellbeing.

Secondly, we should advocate in our universities to include the adverse effects of climate change on human health in public health classes. Climate change is already affecting people’s health and the magnitude of these impacts will continue to grow. Therefore, It is crucial for us as health students to understand these impacts and get equipped with necessary competencies to respond accordingly.

Third, we should take part in reducing the carbon footprint of our health systems, we can engage with hospital administrators around sustainability and carbon neutrality. Many health systems are already working on these issues, so we can try to accelerate changes.

Last but not least, we are talking about our communal future, our planet and our wellbeing. Therefore it is our responsibility as prospective members of the health community to take the lead and get involved in shaping this future the way we dream of. We should always make sure that the voices of youth and young health professionals reach country leaders, stakeholders and policymakers. We need to maintain an optimistic and persistent standpoint and prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.

About the authors

  1. Amro Aglan, is a final year medical student at Tanta University, Egypt. He has been involved in International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) Exchange programs during the last 4 years and last year he was appointed as International General Assistant for IFMSA Professional Exchanges and he is currently the president of IFMSA-Egypt. Amro is interested in Global Health issues with a focus on Climate change and he is a previous intern in the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organisation’s Geneva headquarters. In addition, he was a part of the WHO Delegation to the 22nd Conference of Parties in Morocco.
  2. Emma Aneshansley, recently graduated from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. she studied Health Science and Public Health. She is especially interested in women’s and paediatric medicine, with a focus on preventative and primary care. During the Spring of 2017, she interned at an organisation called Children’s HeathWatch, where she assisted in public policy advocacy targeted at low-income families. Prior to this, she interned in the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organisation’s Geneva headquarters, where she worked on projects surrounding the effects on climate change on human health.

 

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights:the role of medical students

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

The vital role played by logistics during humanitarian crises

Will CETA be implemented after eight long years or it will be vetoed by the EU citizen?

A new global platform to unleash entrepreneurs on the world’s toughest problems

EP launches Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism on anniversary of her murder

EU citizens want more competences for the EU to deal with crises like COVID-19

COP25: ‘Signals of hope’ multiplying in face of global climate crisis, insists UN chief Guterres

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

Data show EU Economy in a stubbornly subdued state

Why are so few women buying into Bitcoin?

3 cognitive biases perpetuating racism at work – and how to overcome them

The EU will always have a stable partner in Montenegro, says President Đukanović

The jobs forecast is unsettled. It’s time for a reskilling revolution

This one small change could transform education for millions

Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

6 young leaders who are improving the state of the world on International Youth Day

Human rights chief calls for international probe on Venezuela, following ‘shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings’

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

UN working ‘intensively’ to stop Ebola in eastern DR Congo, following second case in major border town

Oslo leads the way in ‘Breathe Life’ campaign for cleaner cities in climate change era

Bureaucracy in the member states again the obstacle for long due strong European Hedge Funds

London is becoming the world’s first National Park City

1 in 7 people would choose not to fly because of climate change

Libyan national conference postponed, nearly 500,000 children at ‘direct risk’ from fighting around Tripoli

Industrial clusters using green hydrogen can drive clean energy transition in Europe and China

UN mobilizes in Rohingya camps to support babies born of rape; young mothers face stigma

The crucial need to prioritise palliative care in Universal Health Care

Could 2021 be a turning point for forests and climate change?

$675 million appeal to stop coronavirus in its tracks, as deaths rise

What wealth managers can learn from family dynamics

How’s Life? reveals improvements in well-being but persistent inequalities

The challenge of maintaining interest in Primary Health Care in medical students

Antitrust: Commission imposes interim measures on Broadcom in TV and modem chipset markets

Heart attacks and strokes are more common on high pollution days, data shows

Governments can fight corruption by joining the digital payment revolution

These are the benefits of learning a second language

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

State aid: Commission approves € 1.6 billion Polish scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak and provide liquidity support

Science is ‘key’ to pushing forward the 2030 Agenda, UN development forum told

Greece to stay in the euro area but the cost to its people remains elusive

India’s future as a world power depends on 4 key relationships

Trade MEPs promise thorough scrutiny of the EU-UK agreement

How Asia could be the winner in the US and China’s Belt and Road race

Africa’s shrinking lake shows the impact of climate change on women and indigenous people

Quarantine: A mental health guide for every mood

European Commission kicks off major EU trade policy review

New Eurobarometer survey shows: The majority of Europeans think the EU should propose additional measures to address air quality problems

This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 – is it time for a new approach?

UN policewoman recognized for ‘speaking up and speaking out’ on behalf of the vulnerable

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

Afghanistan: UN envoy urges further extension of ceasefire with Taliban, as Eid ul-Fitr gets underway

The European reaction to the neo-fascist wind

Computer skills are crucial for children – in lockdown and in life

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s