Climate Change and Health

Southeast Asian countries are highly vulnerable to climate-related hazards such as droughts, cyclones, sea level rise, floods and landslides, according to a published reportby the International Development Research Center (IDRC)1. In addition, six (6) countries from Asia namely Myanmar, Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand are among the most vulnerable nations in the world according to the Top 10 Global Climate Risk Index2.

Climate-related disasters pose a huge threat to the continuity of service of hospitals. If they are not prepared in terms of infrastructure, operations and procurement, it can translate to service interference at a time when they are highly needed. Thus, becoming climate-smart is a necessity for hospitals and other health facilities in an era of extreme weather events.

More than this, public health is greatly affected by the drastic change in climate conditions. According to a reportby WHO, climate change is expected to cause 38 000 deaths due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48 000 due to diarrhea, 60 000 due to malaria, and 95 000 due to childhood undernutrition.

Climate and Health Program in Southeast Asia

Health Care Without Harm’s Climate Program works to align the health care sector with the ambition of the Paris Agreement while meeting global health goals through three core strategies: 

  1. Mitigation. Reducing the sector’s climate footprint and putting it on a trajectory toward zero emissions
  2. Resilience. Fostering climate resilient hospitals, health centers and communities; and
  3. Leadership. Mobilizing health care’s ethical, economic, and political influence to advance the transition to zero emissions, healthy and equitable future.

This program works with various healthcare stakeholders in Southeast Asia, HCWH’s international climate team, as well as Health Care Without Harm’s external partners and allies to support the adaptation and/or development of tools and resources for health care climate mitigation and resilience in the region, as well as subnational, national, and regional action plans to integrate health care into climate policy and climate into health policy. 

RISE for Southeast Asia

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Logo of RISE South East Asia Alliance for Health and Climate

The health sector has a unique opportunity to combat climate change because it is well positioned to understand the health impacts of climate change and take action to protect public health. Today, the voices of health workers become even more critical in promoting actions that address climate change and its impacts on health. Health professionals are both trusted communicators and important actors in the mitigation of this climate catastrophe. With a mandate to protect people's health and prioritize patient safety, dignity, and comfort, health professionals are duty-bound to speak out about the serious global health risks posed by climate change.

This is precisely why RISE Southeast Asia Alliance for Health and Climate (RISE) was launched, an initiative of Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia, aimed to strengthen and mobilize healthcare leadership on climate action and healthy, equitable recovery for the region. 

The story that has gripped the countries of Southeast Asia in the last decade is a story of climate disasters, economic and social struggles, and then a formidable pandemic. In spite of that, the journey of this region is also about standing up, courageously facing adversity, and uniting to build better — this is where “RISE” comes from. RISE signifies responsiveness, resilience and recovery. It also means facing the problem and mobilizing people and institutions towards the right solutions. The goal for RISE is to build a competent, inclusive alliance of healthcare leaders to advance climate action, health equity, and resilience in Southeast Asia in the context of increasing climate change risk and the post-pandemic recovery in the region.

Vision

A resilient South East Asia, that fosters planetary health, climate action, and equity.

Mission

Empowering health leaders to champion health equity and climate justice in South East Asia, catalyzing transformative impact on communities and systems.

Objectives

Resilience: Develop strategies and initiatives to promote climate resilience, addressing air pollution, risk factors, and broader determinants of health for the well-being of communities in South East Asia.

Influence: Strengthen the capacity of health and climate leaders, empowering them with the knowledge and tools to effectively influence and advocate for climate and health issues.

Synergy: Foster cross-sector collaboration and synergy, breaking down silos to advance transformative change in climate and health across South East Asia.

Equity: Champion health equity and climate justice within the sector but also the broader community and wider economy, advocating for fairness, inclusivity, and the protection of vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Join the regional movement!

Join us as we work towards a healthier planet
for this generation and the next.