Hospitals must take role vs climate change

Climate Change Commission (CCC) urged the health sector to take on a leadership role in mitigating the impacts of climate change by building green and sustainable hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Speaking before 200 doctors, hospitals, and healthcare administrators from all over the country, during the 43rd Foundation Day of the Philippine College of Hospital Administrators (PCHA), CCC Secretary and Vice Chairperson Emmanuel De Guzman noted that the impacts of climate change will continue to drive vulnerability and exacerbate existing risks in communities.

The health care sector ranks as one of the leading energy consumers, with hospitals projected to be using approximately twice the energy as office buildings of the same size.

With energy consumption dominating the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, healthcare institutions have substantial contributions to the country’s overall climate change footprint.

“The healthcare sector can spearhead real change by going beyond advocacy and research by rethinking how hospitals and other healthcare facilities are being run and operated,” De Guzman said.

Greening hospitals entails building resource-efficient and sustainable building designs, using low-cost green technologies for generating energy and managing wastes, and shifting to environment-friendly alternatives for food and transportation systems.

In addition to greening healthcare facilities, De Guzman also reiterated the responsibility of the healthcare sector in ensuring the safety and security of its critical infrastructure.

“With the life-saving role of healthcare in society, it is crucial for hospitals to stay up and running, during the onslaught of the most extreme weather events,” De Guzman said. “The resilience of hospitals to natural hazards and disasters is dependent on how well it could integrate local climate change projections into its risk management and planning processes,” he explained.

As part of its Low-Emission Capacity Building Project with the United Nations Development Programme, the CCC has been conducting roundtable discussions and regional consultations on the greening of Philippine hospitals.

According to De Guzman, the response of the country’s hospital sector has been very positive and encouraging.

“Partnership and cooperation is key to resilience building against the impacts of climate change. Your actions are crucial to advance our cause and deliver the benefits and progress we all desire for the country, for our communities, and for our families,” De Guzman said in his speech.

 

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