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Caribbean Health Leaders Call For Urgent Action On Climate Change And Health

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The change of environmental and long-term weather conditions in the Caribbean can undeniably be attributed to rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels because of human activity, particularly the burning of oil, gas, and coal.

The effects of climate change are compounded by the destruction of forests and environmental pollution.

The small-island and low-lying territories of the Caribbean, with economies based on agriculture, fisheries, tourism, and service industries, are particularly vulnerable.

Climate change in the Caribbean has resulted in rising sea levels; destruction of coral reefs; loss of beaches, such as Hellshire beach in Jamaica; severe flooding in Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago; and more destructive hurricanes affecting the region as experienced by Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St Maarten, The Bahamas, and other territories.

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As the Earth heats, the most fundamental determinants of health will be affected such as air quality, water quality, food availability, housing integrity, infectious disease occurrence, and political stability.

With the rise of extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves, people will experience increased injuries, and physical and mental illnesses.

Droughts or heavy rains will affect food production, which can lead to malnutrition and higher food prices.

Diseases like malaria, dengue and gastroenteritis can spread more easily and affect more people. Some will be displaced from their homes and forced to migrate, while others will do so voluntarily.

Climate change will also directly impact health facilities, which may be damaged during extreme weather events, or overloaded by the resulting increased demand for emergency care. Health facilities and systems must become more resilient and reduce their significant CO2 emissions and environmental impact.

Environmentally sustainable and resilient health facilities will positively impact the well-being of patients, staff and future generations.

Healthcare sector leaders, healthcare professionals, and other stakeholders have a unique opportunity to acknowledge the challenges and recognize the urgency of this moment.

We may be the last generation to have the chance to act to avoid major catastrophe. We must purposefully engage policymakers, the public, and other key stakeholders in making CO2 emissions reductions and system resilience a priority. 

We call for and commit to the following:

  • Increasing public and health professional awareness of the impact of climate change on health
  • Strengthening community resilience to address the threat of climate change
  • Convening frequent regional knowledge exchange events
  • Advocating for climate resilient health systems including a climate-educated health workforce
  • Promoting practical actions to reduce the effect of climate change on health
  • Expanding partnerships around climate and health action


Members of the Working group

Dr. Brian James, President, Medical Association of Jamaica

Dr. Carolyn Jackson, Assistant Honorary Secretary, Medical Association of Jamaica

Dr. Damion Basdeo, President, Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association

Dr. Andrew Lakhan, Chair of Climate Change and Health Subcommittee, Trinidad and

Tobago Medical Association

Dr. Lynda Williams, President, Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners

Dr. James Hospedales, Executive Director, EarthMedic and EarthNurse Foundation for Planetary Health

Dr. Loren De Freitas, Associate Member, EarthMedic and EarthNurse Foundation for Planetary Health

Dr. Merle Clarke, President, St Lucia Medical and Dental Association

Dr. Dianne Ferdinand-Walcott, Vice President, St. Lucia Medical and Dental Association

Dr. Firoz Abdoel Wahid, Association of Medical Doctors in Suriname

Dr. Mukesh Simbhoedatpanday, Chairman, Association of Medical Doctors in Suriname

SOURCE: Caribbean Health Alliance for Climate Action


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Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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  1. More need for all these doctor getting back in their hospitals ado a bit of real work

  2. The same doctors that got it DEAD WRONG about covid? That dunce Merle Clarke? Are they now trying to advise in an area they know nothing about. Didn’t do themselves any justice in the past 2 years. Jesus. 25,000 years ago the average temperature was 2.5% degrees higher than it is now. Greenland was a tropical region. Scandinavia was a farming region. You morongs need to follow the actual science before spewing this garbage. The earth routinely experiences cyclical warming and cooling periods. Human activity has immaterial effect on the amount of CO2 in the air. Mind you that amount is about 0.04%. Accurate temperatures records go back to 1980s. Many people in this country are older than weather records. How can you model something as complex as climate for a 4.5 BILLION year old planet on such limited temperature records?

  3. Tell me why should we believe you now when your failure in predicting COVID was wrong ? Who is Merle Clarke? She doesn’t have any moral authority to advise any one on pain in their toe nail let alone health and climate change. I invite Merle Clarke to join us on a panel discussion as we look at the healthcare and Transing in the Caribbean tomorrow , 30th July at 7:pm. This discussion will be on the zoom platform and will be viewed by participants across the globe.

  4. The statement that doctors got it “dead wrong” about COVID is a gross oversimplification of the situation. The reality is that scientists and doctors are constantly learning and adapting their understanding of the virus as new information becomes available. In the early days of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty about how the virus spread and how to treat it. As a result, some of the advice that was given turned out to be incorrect. However, this does not mean that doctors are incompetent or that they don’t know what they’re talking about. It simply means that they are working with limited information and that they are constantly learning and evolving their understanding of the virus. Click this link cambiati for more information!


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