Georgetown, Guyana.: Recognised by the World Health Organization, as one of the greatest threats to human health and the environment, climate change can affect safe drinking water, secure shelter, sufficient food in the Caribbean region.
While emissions of greenhouse gases from the Caribbean region are negligible, they are likely to lead to regional climate change and rise of sea level that may threaten the existence of several small islands and countries with low lying coasts.
To address the public health issues related to the anticipated climate change in the Caribbean region, an Expert Panel was convened by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in collaboration with Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. The meeting took place at the Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown.
“The many connections between climate change and health and the profound implications of the change for Caribbean countries for food and water security, proliferation of climate-sensitive vectors of disease, extreme weather events make the work of this Expert Panel extremely important to develop a roadmap on Climate Change and Health for countries, regional institution and international partners. It is consistent with the leadership role CARICOM countries have played in the global climate change negotiations,” said Dr. C. James Hospedales, CARPHA Executive Director.
“The health of communities is inextricably linked to the health of the environment. Our communities in the Caribbean will be disproportionately impacted by Climate Change, hence we need to integrate our assets and urgently address our gaps to become climate change resilient”, said Dr. Maureen Lichtveld, Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences at Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, who co-chaired the expert panel with Dr. C. James Hospedales.
The multi-sectoral panel with regional and international experts is tasked with developing a Caribbean-wide, systems-driven strategic roadmap on climate change and health. Areas of emphasis include a gap analysis, stakeholders, research and training, impact on health and economic development.
The meeting took place on the eve of CARPHA’s 62nd Health Research Conference which takes place from April 27 – 29 in Guyana. Discussions included the groundwork for strategic priorities as pillars of the roadmap and strategies to identify financial support, while assuring that all stakeholders are engaged.
The final road map will be presented at the 2018 CARPHA Conference.