Health groups call on the leaders of the Western Balkan countries to harmonize national air quality standards with the World Health Organization Global air quality guidelines. Health experts should be actively involved in these decision-making processes to ensure the timely integration of public health measures into environmental policies. Compliance with WHO recommendations brings multiple benefits – reduced incidence of chronic diseases and premature deaths, reduced overall health costs and, most importantly, better health and higher productivity of people.
On 9 March, HEAL’s Health and Climate Change Officer Eva Takaria joined a conference organised by the project ‘Italian Network of Sentinel Physicians for the Environment (RIMSA)’ in Rome, Italy. The event was hosted by the Italian Federation of Colleges of Physicians and brought together health professionals, representatives from the Italian health ministry and (international) environment & health experts to discuss the importance of health community involvement in climate action.
Last week, we joined the #health community in Italy to discuss the urgent need to tackle causes of #ClimateChange and #AirPollution. Thank you @ISDEItalia & @FNOMCeO for having us! pic.twitter.com/ptzbIpk5Wc
— Health&Environment (@HealthandEnv) March 12, 2018
The project was funded by the Italian Ministry of Health and supported by EUREGHA, the European Regional and Local Health Authorities. HEAL’s new member ISDE Italy was one of the founding actors in setting up the project. They were involved in designing a training path to create a base for a network of health professionals working at local level but with regional and national value, to foster interaction and collaboration between GP’s, family pediatricians and the primary care network to develop health and environment related prevention activities with regards to climate change impacts. The task of that network is informing citizens about risks and possible preventive interventions related to climate change and environmental risks, as well as supporting (research) institutions in surveillance work. The project brings together a team of professionals trained to strategically use information, evidence and other resources to improve public health, motivate decision-making authorities and become the connection point between the population and government institutions.
HEAL’s Eva Takaria gave a presentation entitled ‘The new climate change warriors: health professionals’, discussed HEAL’s strategy of pushing for health in better environmental policy, the extraordinary role health professionals can play, and shared ideas on how the network could continue to make a difference and extend its value – by e.g. exchanging ideas and best practices with other climate and health networks in Europe, pushing for health in countries’ nationally determined contributions following the Paris Agreement and to initiate/engage in research or join one of many campaigns out there to bundle forces.