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Dec 4, 2023

Climate Change Affects Health

At COP28, Canadian medical professionals protested for climate action, advocating for a just phase-out of fossil fuels. They highlighted the severe health consequences of climate change, including the spread of diseases, extreme weather events causing injuries, disruptions in healthcare, and impacts on food and water security. On Health Day at COP28, global donors pledged more than seven hundred and seventy-seven million dollars to defeat tropical diseases and improve the health of persons affected by climate change. But, activists are demanding more. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo is in Dubai and has the following story.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Inside COP28 in Dubai on Sunday, the day dedicated to health discussions, medical professionals from Canada trying to save mother earth. Resuscitating the earth and injecting it with renewable energy. It’s all symbolism with one clear message.


Khan Salman Fitrat

Khan Salman Fitrat, International Federation of Medical Students’ Association

“We need an equitable and just fossil fuel phase out to secure the future of the health of our planet.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Do you believe that your presence here today would make any difference?”


Khan Salman Fitrat

“We do believe our presence makes a difference. We are healthcare professionals that believe in fossil fuels phase out being a stop solution for all health problems linked to climate change.”


Rising global temperatures contribute to the spread of infectious diseases as vectors like mosquitoes expand their habitats. This year’s spike in dengue cases across the Caribbean region has been linked to global warming marked by higher average temperatures, precipitation and longer periods of drought. Extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, hurricanes, and floods, can lead to injuries, displacement, and disruptions in healthcare services. Changes in precipitation patterns and temperature fluctuations affect food and water security, leading to malnutrition and waterborne diseases. According to Khan Salman Fitrat of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association these are only a few effects that climate change has on health.


Khan Salman Fitrat

“There are many to begin with. When I start counting them, there is extreme heat. Extreme temperatures. Extreme weather events. Pollution. Climate migration. Issues with nutrition. Climate change affecting mental health. Climate change affecting the health systems worldwide. As you can see, climate change is disrupting a lot of issue worldwide and threatening the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals along with the community of our planet.”


Vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those with pre-existing health issues, are particularly at risk.  Poor air quality resulting from increased wildfires and altered patterns of air circulation exacerbates respiratory conditions. Joseph Vipond of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment says that a child died because of climate change.


Joseph Vipond

Joseph Vipond, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

“So western Canada has been inundated wildfire smoke for the last decade really. Every year there seems to be wildfire smoke events. So, the predominant thing that I see like as a clinician is people who come in who have been impacted by the wildfire smoke for their asthma and their COPD and are having effects from that. Not just on the day on the wildfire smoke but the days that follow as well. Just breathing they just have a hard time breathing. They have tightness in their chest. They require increase steroids. We had a nine year old kid die, I can’t remember how many years ago maybe two years ago, from wildfire smoke in DC where basically this died of climate change. So this is having real world impacts.”


Reporting from COP28 in Dubai, Hipolito Novelo for News 5.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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