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Climate change is a threat the world over but particularly grave in Guyana given the coastland is not only below sea levels but national policies and programmes have not kept pace in developing and maintaining required infrastructures to mitigate damage.
News that the Government, through its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, will make attempt to fortify and transform the healthcare system would be welcomed by Climate Change proponents and the United Nations, given that Guyana is a signatory to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement that set 2030 at the benchmark to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by and to reach net zero by 2050; to reduce exposure to harmful pollutants in the air, water, soil, among other goals to enhance care, access and management, and reduce illnesses.
The Government promised to implement LCDS 2030 before the end of this year. Last month, the Commonwealth Fund signalled a dire warning that “Hundreds of millions of people across the globe are experiencing the impact of climate change [and] without drastic action, these events will only increase in scale and frequency.”
The Fund also warned that “[c]limate change also affects our health, both physical and mental. And while health care systems have an important role to play in combatting climate change, climate change deeply affects them as well. Hospitals, health centers, and other providers shoulder the burden of caring for people experiencing the health consequences of climate change. Health care facilities also often face disruptions to their operations in the form of power outages or flooding, that inhibit the delivery of high-quality care.”
According to the Government, Guyana’s LCDS 2030 will fortify and transform the country’s healthcare system. A menu of measures has been outlined to achieve this. Government said it will support improving Guyana’s public health adaptation infrastructure; planning and response capability of the health sector to climate-related impacts; and developing and implementing programmes to tackle climate-related illnesses.
Were the objectives to be achieved, Guyana’s LCDS 2030 will boost and promote disaster risk preparedness and management capacity of the health sector; quicker recovery from extreme weather-related events like floods; better access to clean water and sanitation facilities; the public’s sensitisation of the risks of climate-related health impacts – particularly at the community level.
And under this national advancement plan, it is expected that significant efforts will also be invested in improving access to, and the quality of healthcare services in the country. The Department of Public Information report said this will include training healthcare personnel to render service in a low-carbon economy; upgrading medical facilities and equipment to facilitate accurate diagnosis, treatment and care; improving management systems, data information storage and retrieval; as well securing effective quality medication.