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.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European 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

Building social good – lessons from an Asian giant

This team of Saudi women designed an award-winning app to make the Hajj safer

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

Three ideas for leaders to be more successful in the 21st century

EU’s new sanctions on Russia into force “in the next few days”: strength, weakness or strategy?

The issue of mental health for modern young doctors

EU: Divided they stand on immigration and Trump hurricanes

Parliament supports plans to improve quality of tap water and cut plastic litter

Myanmar willing to repatriate ‘verified returnees’ from Bangladesh

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change-the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, yet overlooked in climate negotiations?” IFMSA wonders from COP21 in Paris

Facilitating the access to finance and risk capital for SMEs and midcaps

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

Why the internet is yesterday’s news in China’s digital leap forward

Brexit: PM May must hush Boris Johnson to unlock the negotiations

Canada has the most comprehensive and elaborate migration system, but some challenges remain

De Gucht: More gaffes with the talks on the EU-US free trade agreement

FROM THE FIELD: Balancing act for Philippines farmers

UN and Red Cross chiefs appeal for end to use of explosive weapons in cities

2019: An unpredictable, confrontational and financially ominous year

Africa is ‘on the rise’, says UN chief Guterres, urging collaboration for better future

EU budget: Commission proposes €1.26 billion to reinforce the European Solidarity Corps

Alarm over violent attacks on lawmakers, opposition in Malawi, ahead of elections

‘Two pack’ austerity package in force but with less vigor

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

The European Union and Central Asia: New opportunities for a stronger partnership

MEPs commend Ukraine‘s reform efforts and denounce Russian aggression

Mario Draghi quizzed for last time by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee

A new European banking space is born this year

China in my eyes

Thursday’s Daily Brief: ambulance attack in Libya, #GlobalGoals defenders, human rights in Cambodia, Swine Fever

Advocate General ‘outlaws’ Data Retention Directive

Mali peace process in a ‘critical phase’, says head of UN Mission

This is why AI has a gender problem

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

Financial services: Commission sets out its equivalence policy with non-EU countries

Macron defends the idea of European sovereignty

Constitutional Committee breakthrough offers ‘sign of hope’ for long-suffering Syrians

From drone swarms to modified E. Coli: say hello to a new wave of cyberattacks

Health privatisation: reviving Alma-Ata

Germany’s strong anti-bribery enforcement against individuals needs to be matched by comparably strong enforcement against companies

Security: better access to data for border control and migration management

Exchanges of medical students and the true understanding of global health issues

Brussels to point the finger to Washington for lack of commitment over TTIP

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

Acute food insecurity ‘far too high’ UN agency warns, as 113 million go hungry

From inconvenience to opportunity: the importance of international medical exchanges

Migrant caravan: UN agency helping ‘exhausted’ people home

Millions of people eat octopus- here’s why we shouldn’t

New phenomena in the EU labour market

How and why Mercedes fakes the EU fuel consumption tests

How to build a digital infrastructure that benefits emerging economies

This Dutch company makes environmentally-friendly paint

Entrepreneurship and strategic planning: the enabler

‘Fire-fighting approach’ to humanitarian aid ‘not sustainable’: Deputy UN chief

3 ways blockchain can revolutionize global supply chains

Mexico: Helping refugees go into business, a ‘win-win situation’, says UNHCR’s Grandi

We’ll succeed together

Iran: UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by continuing executions of juvenile offenders

Facebook engineer working at the company’s HQ, Menlo Park, CA (Copyright: Facebook Inc., Source: Facebook Inc.’s website, newsroom)

Facebook goes under formal EU privacy scrutiny after latest massive data breach

DPRK reports ‘little progress’ since historic June 2018 summit with US

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