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Investing For Climate Change Means Investing In Healthcare

Investing For Climate Change Means Investing In Healthcare

As congress debates the merits of tying 3.5 trillion dollars in social spending to a bipartisan infrastructure bill, the ongoing pandemic combined severe weather across the gulf and east coasts have made the gaps in our health and civil infrastructure more apparent than ever.

What’s also more clear is that investing in our health systems is part of preparing for a climate-changed world.

A May report from McKinsey & Company makes the case for investing in our healthcare to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics: “infectious diseases will continue to emerge, and a vigorous program of capacity building will prepare the world to respond better than we have so far to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

But public health officials are noticing that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of direct human health consequences that go beyond staving off a future pandemic

Basic Health Impacts

As natural disasters like floods, cyclones and storms increase, so do the cases of blunt force injuries, falls, and crashes. Orthopedic injuries increase during floods, peaking weeks later as displaced people return to reclaim their damaged property. These injuries can be especially dangerous for the elderly or those with physical disabilities

Waste management systems are affected by disasters. Post-disaster debris is already a major challenge for municipalities, but damage to waste storage and treatment infrastructure leads to massive contamination cycles, putting people at greater risk for disease

Gaps in medical supply and demand, such as what we have seen for PPE and testing equipment during Covid-19, must be improved to account for medical supplies diverted from their regular destinations to provide for the needs of those left behind after a disaster. Local supplies are often already insufficient to care for the large number of newly affected people after a disaster, but much of that can be lost to the disaster
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