Climate Change Advocacy is Global Health Advocacy

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COVID-19 pandemic reveals scarcity in resources to maintain good hygiene, health

Posted April 22, 2021

Agness Dyson (left) carries a bag of potatoes grown by her family as a gift to PIH caregivers in Neno, Malawi
Agness Dyson (left) carries a bag of potatoes grown by her family as a gift to PIH caregivers in Neno, Malawi. Regular access to food is one link between climate change and global health. Photo by Zack DeClerck / Partners In Health

At Partners In Health, Earth Day is a moment to reflect on the intersection of climate change and global health, in that those most affected by natural disasters and disease are often marginalized communities.

That’s why PIH, more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, is urging greater global collaboration so that work toward climate justice prioritizes the world’s most vulnerable and addresses health concerns that extend far beyond clinical care.

“All rights and social justice issues are interdependent and therefore require collective action,” said Joel Curtain, PIH’s director of advocacy. “Achieving health equity also requires environmental, social, racial, and economic justice.”

As a social justice organization that strengthens health systems, provides and supports medical care, and trains local health care workers in 11 countries around the world, PIH has a firsthand view of how the global climate crisis affects human health—from the increased frequency of devastating natural disasters to rising air pollution, food insecurity, and clean water scarcity.

PIH staff and clinicians see the evidence through cholera outbreaks after devastating floods; HIV and tuberculosis epidemics fueled by malnutrition and air pollution; and rampant malaria amid severe rainy seasons, floods, and deadly storms.

And now, as the world battles COVID-19 and scrambles for resources like clean water to maintain good hygiene, it has never been more evident that pandemics highlight inequality and injustice on a global level—and the communities that bear the greatest burdens are those that systemically have received the least support.  

In recognition of Earth Day, PIH strongly believes that we can cure the world’s worst injustices, together, by addressing planetary health as essential to humanity’s health—and ensuring health as a human right.

Action on climate change is critical for health. Health is a human right, one that climate change threatens directly.

Join our movement as we work to combat climate change and ensure care for all.

Article originally published on pih.org

Read more about why climate change is a global health emergency.

Every person, no matter who they are or where they’re from, deserves the best health care we know how to offer.

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