Bridgetown, Barbados, April 21, 2023 (PAHO/WHO) – Climate Change is a global emergency, yet few countries have made plans to face it. Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness staff and allied sectors recently met at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Barbados, to understand how climate change is affecting public health in the country, a first step in the creation of a Health National Adaptation Plan (H-NAP).
The process to assess vulnerabilities and prioritize ways to manage or minimize the impacts of climate change in an area is called adaptation planning. H-NAPs consider the impact of climate change on people’s mental and physical health, and the social effects. These plans present actions to build climate-resilient health systems that can anticipate and protect public health.
Barbados’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kenneth George, participated in the one-day meeting and took the opportunity to thank PAHO for its commitment to the development of the HNAPs. Meanwhile Acting PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados, Dr Prabhjot Singh said that climate change does affect public health directly and urgent action is required.
Under the European Union-funded CARIFORUM Climate Change and Health project, coordinated by the PAHO/WHO Caribbean Subregional Program Coordination Office, Grenada and St Lucia have completed the H-NAP and plans are underway in Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana and the Dominican Republic. Dr Alison Gajadhar, lead consultant for the development of the HNAP in Barbados stated that she was impressed by the level of participation and engagement of public health experts in Barbados.
The final HNAP Report will include key recommendations to inform the development of policy, strategy and plans and programmes to assist countries in the process of adaptation. For more information on the project and the progress with the H-NAPs please visit the project website.