Robust health system needed to deal with climate change

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KARACHI: Civil society and government bodies have joined hands to work collectively towards building climate-resilient communities and a robust health system in Thatta district.

This resolution was reached during a seminar commemorating International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, organised by the Sindh Community Foundation (SCF) in partnership with Pathfinder International.

Numerous representatives from civil society, local communities, medical and climate experts, government authorities, and communities from Thatta district attended the event.

On the occasion, SCF head and an environmental activist, Javed Soz gave an in-depth presentation on the issues, vulnerabilities, and impacts of various disasters on the coastal communities in the district, with a focus on disaster risk reduction. He emphasised that Pakistan is ranked as the fifth most vulnerable country according to the Global Climate Risk Index for 2023, and Sindh is the region most affected by the climate change.

Soz highlighted the multifaceted forms of climate change that Thatta district faces, including floods, cyclones, sea intrusion, and the depletion of natural resources, notably mangroves. He stressed the importance of implementing concrete efforts at the community level, which include climate-responsive governance and the development of disaster-resilient infrastructure for health and other essential facilities.

Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Safdar Shah, stated that Thatta district has faced natural disasters and is now working on adopting a climate and disaster-resilient health system approach, particularly in remote areas.

He highlighted the successful response to a recent cyclone, which led to the reopening of health facilities with a full medical staff complement and adequate medical supplies.

Shah stressed on the need of collective efforts to enhance health system service delivery, especially in coastal regions. Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health (RMNCH), Deputy District Health Officer, Dr Rehana Yasmeen stressed the impact of climate-related hazards on women’s health, including issues like anaemia, eclampsia, low birth weight, pre-mature birth, and miscarriage.

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