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Since April 2020, HEAL, together with HASUDER and Kocaeli University have been implementing the EU funded project ÇİSİP,  which focuses on strengthening Turkish health sector engagement on climate and environmental policies, and building their capacity on the science behind climate change. On 2 June 2023, we organised the project’s closing event in Ankara, Turkey, to discuss how to build climate and disaster resilient health systems in Turkey.

The recent earthquake has made it clear that natural disasters and climate change are two major challenges for Turkey’s health system. The natural disaster has added pressure on health systems which are already threatened by climate change, as the biggest threat to people’s health of the 21st century.

The event succeeded in bringing together around 80 representatives from the health and medical sector, environmental NGOs and ministry representatives. 

In the morning, following the opening speeches, participants heard presentations from Shweta Narayan (Healthcare Without Harm), Prof. Cigdem Cayalan (Kocaeli University), Prof. Melike Yavuz (HASUDER) and Fevzi Ozuler (lawyer), followed by a panel discussion. Topics discussed included how the climate crisis is a health crisis, which will have huge economic costs if no action is taken, and that was important for the healthcare sector to lead by example in reducing emissions. Therefore, health systems should be flexible and able to transform depending on the situation. 

As agreed by participants and network’s members, a resilient health system should indeed be able to cope with the health risks caused by climate change and to minimize the effects of these risks. To achieve this, strategies must be implemented e.g. training of health personnel, increasing the preparedness of health systems, and environmental regulations.

In the afternoon, members of the CISIP network shared on the achievements of the three year project and lessons learnt, in view of a continued high interest from the health sector to be active on environmental, climate policies and awareness raising. 

Following the conference, the following recommendations on strengthening the Turkish health system were published: 


In the statement titled “Health System Resistant to Climate and Extraordinary Situations after the 2023 Earthquake and Aftermath” published after the closing meeting of ÇİSİP, the following suggestions were made for Turkey to develop a climate resistant health system after the earthquakes in February 2023:

  1. Leadership and management: Leadership and collaboration are important for the development of policies and programs related to climate change in the health sector.
  2. Health people power: The training and capacity of health personnel should be increased in order to cope with climate change.
  3. Vulnerability and community cohesion assessment: Vulnerability assessments should be conducted to identify health risks, identify vulnerabilities, and develop adaptation strategies.
  4. Integrated risk monitoring and early warning systems: Risk monitoring and early warning systems should be established in order to monitor and respond quickly to climate-related health risks.
  5. Health and climate research: Health and climate research should be conducted on issues such as health impacts, community preparedness and risk management.
  6. Climate-resistant, sustainable technologies and infrastructure: It is important that the health system has an infrastructure that is resistant to climate change.
  7. Management of health and environmental determinants: The health sector should play an important role in protecting health by managing environmental risks and taking policy-level measures.
  8. Implementation of health programs based on climate change: Programs for health risks related to climate change should be developed and implemented.
  9. Emergency preparedness and management: Emergency plans and systems should be established for disasters related to climate change.
  10. Financing and resource management: Adequate financing and resources should be provided for combating climate change and their effective management should be ensured.

Watch the recording of the morning including the panel discussion here.

This is the final event of the “Health Collaboration on Climate Change and Environment Project” (Turkish abbreviation ‘ÇİSİP’) project, which HEAL has been implementing since 2020  together with the Association Of Public Health Specialists and Kocaeli University,  Department of Public Health. This three year project, funded by the European Union, aims to build the capacity of the Turkish health sector on the latest environment, climate and health science.


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