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CONSORTIUM FOR HEALTH EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION RESEARCH IN INDIA (CHAIR India)

Center for Chronic Disease Control and Centre for Environmental Health, Public Health Foundation of India, in collaboration with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Karolinska Institutet hosted Consortium for Health effects of AIr pollution Research in India (CHAIR India) on May 14th-15th 2019 in New Delhi.

This meeting was aimed at creating a common platform for exposure scientists and public health researchers to share current updates on air pollution research in India and discuss the way forward to set up linkages with studies on health.

This meeting aligned with the theme of #WorldEnvironmentDay 2019 – #BeatAirPollution which invites us all to consider how we can change our everyday lives to reduce the amount of #airpollution we produce, and thwart its contribution to global warming and its effects on our own health.

NATIONAL HEALTH CONCLAVE 2019: CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ROLE OF THE HEALTH SECTOR

The one-day conclave was organized on 23rd March by Centre for Environmental Health, Public Health Foundation of India and Association of Healthcare Providers India. The theme of the Conclave centred around health impacts of climate change in India & appropriate risk mitigation & adaptation strategies. The consultation was endorsed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and was supported by organisations including Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation etc.

The scientific agenda of the Consultation was set across four sub-themes in a panel session format to encourage multi-stakeholder deliberations on topics including:
i. Climate Change in India – Impact on Health and Socio-Economic Outcomes;
ii. Air Pollution and Health – Current Scenario, Linkages and Co-Benefits of Addressing Air Pollution along with Climate Change;
iii. Role of the Health Sector in Climate Change – Climate Resilience and Contribution to GHG Emissions
iv. Inter-sectoral Approach to Mitigation – Perspectives from policymakers, academics, providers and industry.

The consultation saw participation of over ~200 stakeholders from Academic organizations, Industry/Association, Research Organizations, Governmental Organizations, Hospitals, Knowledge partners etc. One of the key takeaways from the Consultation was the need for the health sector to take action towards a dual role of being “Climate-smart” and “Climate-resilient”. While adopting “greening” policies and climate-smart strategies for energy efficiency, sustainable practices in manufacture, procurement and supply chains of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, water, food, biomedical and solid waste management across health sector operations, the health sector also requires to become structurally and functionally resilient to face the impacts of acute climatic events . As “first responders’, the health sector capacity needs to be strengthened both in the form of robust infrastructure as well as to deal with greater burden of diseases resulting from the aftermath of floods, droughts , heatwaves , air pollution, vector-borne transmission and post-traumatic disorders besides malnutrition resulting from affected agricultural production impacting nutritional security and diversity. The consultation concluded by highlighting the critical need for an inter-sectoral approach that is imperative in setting the trajectory for impactful changes to address health impacts of climate change. A souvenir with a collection of articles from partner organisations was also released during the Consultation proceedings.

The consultation was followed by “LET US LIVE…”- a global symphonic experience of ‘World Music for Environmental Consciousness’ with the aim of raising awareness about harmful effects of climate change and health and the need to preserve & save our beautiful planet. The concert featured Grammy® Winner Ricky Kej-Music Maestro, UNESCO mgiep’s Ambassador, UNICEF Celebrity Supporter & United Nations Humanitarian Artist. The guest of Honour for the Concert was Mr. Jairam Ramesh- Former Union Minister for Environment and Forests. The artist launched “Soothing Music for Hospitals” during the Concert, the music album was further shared with Hospital representatives attending the Conclave.

CEOs and Administrative Representatives of ~30 hospitals participated in a Whitepaper Consultation- the third component of the Conclave. The Guest of Honour for the event was Dr. V. K. Paul- Member, NITI Aayog (Health and Nutrition) & Chairman-Board of Governors of Medical Council of India. The primary objective of the Whitepaper was to summarize available evidence on interlinkages between climate change, air pollution, associated health impacts, and the critical role of health sector as a contributor as well as a first responder to climate change.

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