Guest post by Dr Hans C. Ossebaard, session speaker for ISQua’s 36th International Conference (20th – 23rd October 2019), in Cape Town, South Africa.
At ISQua’s upcoming international conference in Cape Town one session (B13 – session B, Tuesday, 22 October 2019) is devoted to the one signature public health issue of our times: how to counter the pervasive adverse effects of climate change on health and, accordingly, how to redesign the health care sector as to provide a more sustainable, ‘green’ care.
Supranational agencies, inter-governmental organizations, NGO’s, national and local governments, scientists, corporate entities, and citizen-groups worldwide have addressed global warming and pollution which has led to initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions such as the Paris Agreement (2015), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 24th Conference of the Parties Special Report (WHO) and the so-called national determined contributions.
The economic and ethical imperative for urgent action is underscored by the direct and indirect effects on individual and population health.
Health scientists speak of a ‘health emergency’ case, that needs immediate action. The role of health in the climate change agenda has nevertheless been rather implicit. But the healthcare community and their scientific and professional organizations have a natural role to play in the transition and should rise to the challenge of climate aberration. Primum non-Nocera.
Therefore the scope of our session is how to reshape the health care sector to achieve lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution (by medication), encourage circular economics and healthy environments while maintaining quality and safety in care.
What is the role of health care professionals and their international professionals’ organizations, what is green IT, could we develop innovations that are sustainable-by-design, and should sustainability be a dimension of health care quality?
The session aims to discuss these issues along three lines.
The first is presented by Peter Blankestijn’s on his role in the renowned Lancet Countdown initiative and the far-reaching conclusions he draws as a medical specialist in nephrology.
The second line will be my review of the Dutch ‘Green Deal’ approach to health care and the potential of eHealth technologies to accelerate sustainability in health care.
The third line, explained by Peter Kemper, will demonstrate a practical, evidence-based approach to foster healthy environments for professionals and patients.
Sharing our experience is one aim but given the urgency and relevance of the subject, it is even more valuable to open the stage for the international exchange of best practices in care, research and policies.
While initiated by Dutch participants, this is evidently a cross-border, transdisciplinary issue, requiring the participation of all members of the health care quality improvement community.
Come and join this session and cooperate towards a hopeful, co-creative and positive approach of this planetary issue that requires our brains, our hearts and our hands to develop new solutions.