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The twin crises of climate change and pandemics require a global investment in health care workers

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Because the world is facing two rapidly growing existential crises – the effects of global climate change and epidemics – we can not afford to see these threats as unrelated.

The health impact of climate change is enormous, with appreciation 12.6 One million deaths a year Environmental reasons like air pollution, unsafe drinking water, zoonotic diseases and weather-related disasters. Clinically, climatic effects are associated with an increase in lung disease, cardiovascular disease, mental health burdens and trauma. This number is expected to grow, with an additional addition 250,000 annual deaths Predicted.

Along with increasing mortality from extreme weather, climate change will also affect disease epidemics, with new scenarios predicting an increase Frequency and severity of infectious outbreaks As environmental conditions for insect and waterborne diseases become more common.

Although they are reaching the worlds, both climate change and disease are disproportionately affecting people in low- and middle-income countries, largely because of global resource disparities. According to the World Bank, COVID-19 and Climate change Will push nearly 150 million more people into poverty, and their combined effects will prevent social and economic recovery.

The world can begin to moderate these negative consequences.

Strong health systems, based on a strong and well-trained workforce, can strengthen both climatic resilience and preparedness for the plague. Unfortunately, the global community has chronically neglected one of the most critical foundations of health systems: the skilled workforce.

Before COVID, there was a global shortage of healthcare workers. According to the World Health Organization, will be Shortage of more than 18 million health workers by 2030. Recent estimates from International Council of Nurses Expect a global gap of 50 percent of the nursing workforce, even as the need continues to accumulate. The insufficient number of trained health workers in the world interferes with efforts to respond to each of the crises.

The increasing burden of climate change will exacerbate these shortcomings and exacerbate their detrimental effects. There are already 83 countries Critical shortage of health workers; Many of these Countries will experience the most severe effects of climate change. No study has yet quantified the growing number of health workers needed to adapt to climate disruption; However, the increase in health burden, coupled with a vulnerable and shrinking workforce from COVID-19, will exacerbate the imbalance and make life more costly.

In order to adapt to the future of climate change and devastating disease outbreaks, the global community must focus on health workers as the key investment in climate adaptation – and our common future.

Fortunately, on many levels, this is a worthwhile investment. The return on investment for health Estimated at 9: 1, When each additional year of life expectancy raises the GDP per capita of a country By 4 percent. Studies also show that an investment of an additional 2 percent of GDP in social sectors Raises overall employment rates Up to 6 percent. In addition, Safe and secure employment support The health sector reduces gender gaps, as women absorb up to 70 per cent of the jobs created while building social inclusion and equality more widely.

The question is not whether the investments in the health workforce are effective, but how These critical investments can be accelerated. Any ambitious and multilateral response to climate adaptation must include the health workers essential to maintaining our collective well-being. New quantification targets should be set for state-level health workers, investment schedules should be extended to train and absorb health workers, and political mechanisms for accountability should be strengthened. The international community must raise the long-term funding needed to fill these gaps – and this too requires aggressive action by global stakeholders.

As we saw in COP26, the world must move from commitment to action. Any predicted climate scenario makes it clear that the aggravation of environmental impacts and poor health as a result are guaranteed. In the world, we have the necessary resources – scientific knowledge, technology and financial capacity. But we lack the political will to deal with long-standing gaps in capacity.

We have a historic opportunity to meet this moment and listen to the call to truly protect the health of all human beings and the planet. COP26 is building momentum to ensure funding commitments and reducing emissions from countries. However, as negotiations unfold, we remain in a global epidemic. We must also recognize the connection between planetary health and human health. At the center of protecting these are adaptive health systems with a strong workforce that will respond as their cornerstone.

Let’s not waste our moment.

Dr. Vanessa Kerry is the CEO of Seed Global Health. Dr. Puja Yerremili is a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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