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Empowering the healthcare workforce for a climate-resilient future

Strengthening healthcare workforce resilience in a changing climate

This comprehensive report, which is a result of a dynamic collaboration between Deloitte US and Project HOPE, emphasises the urgency of adapting our healthcare systems to the ever-growing threats posed by climate change. How can healthcare workforce act as a critical component of these systems and presents effective strategies to enhance their resilience in the face of climate change?

The report underscores the pressing need to adapt our healthcare systems to withstand the increasing threats posed by climate change. The focus is not merely limited to strengthening the resilience of healthcare systems, such as supply chains, Services delivery, governance and financing, but extends significantly towards reinforcing the workforce, which forms an integral component of these systems.

Key Highlights:

 


  • Healthcare workforce - A critical pillar for health system resilience: Frontline healthcare workers play a vital role in ensuring the smooth functioning of health systems. They provide essential patient care and, when empowered with adequate resources and training, can adapt to emerging health threats, innovatively solve problems and ensure quality care, even in the face of climate-induced disruptions.
  • Climate change's impact on global health: Climate change exacerbates negative health impacts and inequities, threatening individual health, community safety and health system effectiveness. It disrupts Services delivery, complicates supply chains and hinders healthcare professionals' ability to provide optimal care.
  • Human and economic costs of climate change: A recent report projected that by 2050, climate change could lead to an additional 14.5 million deaths and US$12.5 trillion in economic losses worldwide. If left unaddressed, these losses may exceed US$175 trillion by 2070.
  • Increasing focus on healthcare workforce resilience: Healthcare workers are members of communities affected by climate change while also providing care for patients affected by conditions resulting from or exacerbated by climate events. They require tools, support and structures to manage these challenges effectively.

To address these challenges, the report outlines various strategies for building a climate-resilient healthcare workforce. These include providing healthcare staff and management with tools, support and structures to manage these challenges effectively, educating and equipping workers to navigate climate-related challenges, ensuring adequate resources and processes for quality care and worker safety and fostering a culture of contribution that encourages curiosity, creativity and innovation.

In conclusion, the report calls upon each stakeholder—governments, donors, multilateral organisations, the private sector, academia, media and individuals—to help empower the healthcare workforce for a climate-resilient future. Collective action is crucial to drive swifter and more impactful progress in safeguarding the well-being of those most at risk from climate change.

 

Contacts

Elizabeth Baca, MD, MPA Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP 

Uche Ralph-Opara, MBBS, MBA, MPH, Chief Health Officer, Project HOPE

Andrea Dunne-Sosa, MPH, Senior Regional Director, Project HOPE

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