New Zealand: Doctors label climate change a 'health emergency'
Source: Asia Insurance Review | Nov 2019
The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has declared climate change a serious and leading threat to health and health equity, both in New Zealand and worldwide.
NZMA has joined health organisations worldwide, including sister organisations the Australian Medical Association, American Medical Association and British Medical Association in recognising climate change as a health emergency,
The NZMA board declared that climate change is already having severe health consequences on vulnerable populations around the world, including in the Pacific region and to the most vulnerable populations including Maori.
“Recognisable health threats from climate change include the direct impacts such as illness and deaths from high temperatures and other extreme weather events, biologically-mediated events that include the changing patterns of infectious disease and socially-mediated impacts with loss of livelihood, forced migration, economic vulnerability and increased risks of conflict,” said NZMA chair Dr Kate Baddock.
“Well planned and effective measures to mitigate climate change can have substantial health benefits. For example, a shift to active and public transport, a diet with less red meat and animal fat, and improved housing energy efficiency can, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, bring about substantial health and health equity co-benefits, including reductions in Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, road traffic accidents, cancer, respiratory disease, and improvements in mental health.
“The financial costs of responding to climate change will be offset by the cost of doing nothing and doing nothing will increase health inequity – something we are determined to reverse.” A