In the age of globalized healthcare, there is a seismic shift in the way we view fundamental features of the medical industry as a whole. One such example is the rise of climate-smart healthcare and its feature as a central theme in contemporary global conversations.
These conversations have taken hold in public-health circles. For instance, around 50 of the countries present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) committed to developing climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems. With forty-five countries in attendance also pledging to transform their health systems to be more sustainable and low-carbon. The pledge arose as a response to growing evidence of the impact of climate change on both people’s health and increasing concerns over the effects of the healthcare industry itself on climate change.
So, what exactly is climate-smart healthcare and how does it impact the industry and the world?
What Is Climate-Smart Healthcare?
In the aftermath of COP26, it’s unsurprising that the buzzwords on everyone’s lips are ‘Climate-smart healthcare.’ But what does it really mean?
Climate-smart healthcare is underpinned centrally by the idea of low-carbon and resilience strategies in the global healthcare system. Put simply, it’s a social, environmental, economic, and political framework to help the industry curb the effects of climate change on the planet and human health.
For starters, resilience strategies encompass the idea of managing and limiting the impact of climate-sensitive health outcomes such as:
Injury from extreme weather events,
waterborne disease or water-related health impacts,
malnutrition and foodborne disease,
and mental and psychological health.
While on the other hand, low-carbon strategies address a more holistically sustainable eco-system which includes more eco-friendly:
Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production and formulation,
and disposal or re-use processes.
As a result, medical professionals are noting a marked shift in attitude and policy in an effort to fast-track global change.
What Does Climate-Smart Healthcare Mean for The Medical Profession?
The rapid evolution of the contemporary medical sector is unprecedented yet unsurprising due to factors such as:
increased global demand,
increased provider and patient competency,
types of illnesses,
improved provider and patient cooperation,
better provider motivation and satisfaction,
resources and facilities,
improved leadership and management,
and collaboration and partnership development.
These factors have placed an enormous awareness and strain on an already fragile sector and left industry professionals with little choice but to adapt.
As a result, the low-carbon and resilience strategies proposed for the healthcare sectors appear to be the only solution for meeting global climate goals.
For starters, doctors, nurses, hospitals, health systems, and ministries of health are reducing their environmental footprint and advocating for an objective transition that focuses on health as a fundamental feature in decarbonization.
As with many industries, governments are also beginning to impose more sustainable practices to help curb the impacts of climate change and protect future generations from the effects of climate change. This forced change will also profoundly impact how industry professionals are expected and required to carry out their various roles.
And while these voluntary and imposed shifts are rapidly altering the face of the medical industry, the overwhelming sentiment has been to embrace the shifting landscape.
How Is the Industry Meeting the Challenge?
The industry is ultimately looking for ways to choose more sustainable practices and protect populations from climate-sensitive health risks – with initiatives proposed by the COP26 Health Programme including:
‘Building climate-resilient health systems,
Developing low-carbon sustainable health systems,
Adapting research for health,
The inclusion of health priorities in nationally determined contributions,
And raising the voice of health professionals as advocates for stronger ambition on climate change.’
As outlined above, healthcare professionals have implemented a few ways to reduce waste and increase efficiency in the sector. These include:
Lower waste due to delays,
more efficient device production and transportation,
more sustainable packaging,
more efficient distribution and trial processes,
and greener disposal/re-use initiatives.
So, How Can You Help?
From clinical researchers to global practitioners, healthcare professionals in the international arena can make a difference. For instance, more efficient partnerships, procurement processes, distribution channels, and patient resources are some of the most immediate ways to change the industry.
Partnering with companies like TecEx Medical helps you to subvert the often complex and time-consuming areas of IOR, customs, and compliance. Our commitment to collaborating with industry stakeholders for high-impact, low-waste solutions is unprecedented.
Where Does TecEx Medical Fit In?
We help to manage regulatory hurdles, logistical concerns, poor training, institutional risks, and societal factors that can be potentially devastating to the fragile infrastructure of the medical and clinical trial space. We aim to streamline the process of medical importing to reduce waste and increase efficiency for our partners.
Ultimately, it’s unmistakable that industry leaders are committed to climate-smart healthcare with the medical sector and service providers, firmly by the side of a ‘decarbonized civilization.’